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Bama's Watts has super game

By By Mark Etheridge / special to The Star
Nov. 10, 2002
Who said he couldn't pass? Maligned through his first three seasons and labled an option quarterback, Tyler Watts is not the guy expected to beat a defense with his arm. That was then, this is now.
Fifth year senior Tyler Watts is a shadow of his former self. Instead of the hesitant, ultra-cautious run-first signal caller, the 6'3 225 pounder has developed a pocket presence and is giving defenses problems with his arm as well as his legs.
In Saturday's 28-14 win over Mississippi State, Watts completed 16 of 22 passes for 223 yards. He also threw three touchdown passes from 15, 32, and 36 yards. It could have been Watts' finest performance in Crimson.
Watts played so well that his heir apparent, redshirt freshman Brodie Croyle only saw action on one series instead of his customary several series. Watts' play is even more impressive considering he was matched against the defensive coordinator known for giving quarterbacks fits, Joe Lee Dunn.
Watts deflected praise sending it in the direction of the coaching staff.
This week was no different. MSU threw a whole lot of different looks at us. Our coaches do a great job of finding weaknesses in defenses and finding opportunities for us."
Watts has also established himself as an unquestioned leader on the field. Another one of the team's leaders, senior center Alonzo Ephraim had this to say, "Tyler just came out real focused and led us, like a leader should do. Tyler played awesome. He got us in the right reads and we just blocked them. Whatever he was doing he needs to keep it up. He hit Tree (Luke) one time when there were three or four guys around him and I am wondering how he got it in there."
Watts eclipsed some individual marks in Saturday's win. He now has over 4,000 career yards in total offense (7th highest in Alabama history) along with over 3,000 career passing yards. He reached both milestones within a three-play span. His three touchdown passes is a career-high.