MADISON — Looking on the back #42’s jersey, the name is a fairly recognized one within the walls of Camp Randall and within the town of Madison. While T.J. may be the youngest of the three Watt brothers, the junior outside linebacker from Pewaukee, Wis. is proving his value on this Wisconsin football team through his performance and not his name.
Watt, regarded by teammates and coaches as a leader, may not put up the high numbers game after game to get himself noticed by observers. In the past two games against Northwestern and Nebraska, Watt was lower on the tackles list with three and two respectively.
Against Northwestern, Watt said, “Personally I think I executed well. I obviously would have liked to make a couple more plays, but you’ve got to realize at this point not to force things each and every week. You can’t force things. You’ve just got to do your job, and the plays will come.”
Watt’s silent but confident presence on the field makes him a natural leader for the team. By doing his 1/11th and getting his teammates motivated on the practice field and in game time, Watt makes his role known.
“Just to be a leader,” he said of his role. “Someone to go to in tough situations for some guys and just to make a play when it’s time to make a play, when we’re counting down, our backs against the wall. I’m a guy people can turn to make a play and be a difference maker on this defense, but at the same time not to try to do too much.”
The Wisconsin Badgers face Illinois this week followed by Purdue and Minnesota. If they win out, they head to the Big Ten Championship as the Big Ten West leader.
“We’ve controlled our own destiny from the very first game, so nothing has changed.”
To prepare more fully in the final stretch, Watt says he will try “to break things down a little bit more, watch a little bit more film, try to narrow things in a little bit more.”
This weekend’s game holds more importance for Badgers fans with it being homecoming weekend against Illinois. Watt says the game may create more energy in Camp Randall with more people in town and alumni coming to the game. The team will want to “put on a show for them.” Some of Watt’s family will also be in attendance this Saturday.
In his third full season with the Badgers, after redshirting in 2013, and after attending the many football games his older brothers J.J. and Derek played at Camp Randall, Watt has embraced the spirit of Wisconsin football that overflows form the stadium.
“It’s a special place to play. I’ve been coming here a long time, watching my brothers play here and just being able to run out that tunnel is such a special feeling, and also you don’t really how special our fans are until you go to other places and realize how different it is at other places. We definitely have something special here and I love playing in front of the fans at Camp Randall.”