The Signal Callers
Q&A With Christian Watson
Last season, you earned All American honors as a return specialist, how does that help your game on the offensive side of the ball?
If I have a big return, it definitely helps us offensively by improving our field position. Personally, I think it helps me get in a bit of rhythm. Any time I’m doing well in any aspect of the game, it helps me stay positive and perform well in other aspects of the game.
Was there anything, in particular, this offseason that you really tried to hone in on or develop as part of your craft?
I would say there were a bunch of fine details. Some of the things I worked on was stuff at the top of my route and catch radius stuff. I think I definitely got better at a lot of things this past summer including getting out of my breaks quicker.
The last time you guys played a fall season, the receiver room was one of the youngest rooms on the team. This year, you guys have quite a bit more experience. What has changed with that veteran experience?
I think we all just kind of stepped into a bigger leadership role and the team kind of matured a bit. We’ve grown closer to each other. We all know what each of us is good at which really helps us flow a little better as an offense when the play is called.
What does it mean to be named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List?
It’s exciting, for sure. I’m honored to be on it but it’s not something that I’m really, worried about. I’m worried about the season ahead of us. My goal is to be one of the best out there, not only for myself but for the team.
The 5-Headed Monster
Each back brings a little something different to the table. However, every single one is dangerous with the ball in their hands.
NDSU’s road graders are back and ready to lead a rushing attack that ranked 10th in the FCS last season in yards per game.
The Twin Towers
The Bison tight ends are highlighted by the experienced, dynamic and hard-nosed tandem of Josh Babicz and Noah Gindorff.
The Pass Rushers and Run Stuffers
‘Depth’ is the keyword for Code Green’s top-notch defensive front.
As always, NDSU boasts a stellar linebacking core.
Q&A With Jackson Hankey
So NDSU has a really strong linebacking tradition. How do you, as a leader and upperclassman on the team, work to ensure that that tradition continues with the younger guys?
That’s definitely a challenge at times. I think a big part of it is, like you said, the fact that we’ve had tremendous linebackers here in the past. We’ve had very good defenses here in the past. So we know what the standard that has been set is. Now, it’s just our job to try and live up to it. I guess for me that means doing the best I can to model it myself. I also try to encourage and challenge the younger players to be where they need to be to grow and improve.
What were you focused on over the offseason, as far as trying to build your game and improve it?
I’d say the biggest focus for me was getting stronger. I spent a lot of time over the summer, trying to build strength and trying to build flexibility. Trying to improve physically in the game was definitely my biggest offseason focus.
You were the only FCS linebacker named to the watch list for the Butkus Award. Did that mean anything to you?
That meant a lot. I was definitely surprised at first, when I found out I was named to it. Honestly, it was probably a little hard to believe especially thinking about where I came from coming into this program. It makes me feel extremely grateful, extremely fortunate and extremely blessed to be where I am today.
Football is a fast game and from play to play, things happen in the game. Missed tackles and missed assignments happen. How do you hit the reset button when you make a mistake?
First, I think the priority should always be the team winning and not my own performance. Second, I think it’s very important to be grounded in things outside of football. I try not to let my performance on the football field dictate my value or how I value myself as a person.
A mix of experience and youth highlights a hungry secondary for NDSU.