After playing Robin to Josh Allen’s Batman in 2018, Boogie Watson was poised for a breakthrough 2019 season. Through four games, the production had not matched the preseason hype. Watson had just 11 tackles, two for loss and a half sack. His play sparked a conversation ahead of the South Carolina game with defensive coordinator Brad White.
“He understood. We sat down together. I told him how he was playing. He took it like a man,” White said. “Guys can go two ways with that. They can get really upset and get negative and get down, or they can flip the switch and say, you’re right. I am not playing my best football. It was good to see him respond the way he responded today.”
He responded by making four tackles, two for loss and two quarterbacks sacks. Watson also was credited with two quarterback hurries. Boogie’s sense of urgency came from that conversation with White and a few other sources.
“The media, the coaches, my parents, they’ve all been on me,” Watson told KSR. “I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t played to the level I thought I was this season so far in the first four games. I looked in the mirror. I’m a grown man. I accepted the challenge. I had to step up for my team.”
Unfortunately, his team did not get the win. The pass rush was one of the few bright spots, accounting for three sacks and five quarterback hurries. Moving forward, Kentucky has to create more pass rushing opportunities.
“We just gotta stop the run on first and second down to make sure we can get to third down and get after the quarterback,” said Watson.
Stopping the run — that’s a longer conversation for a different day over the bye week.