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CheramieIII 09-10-2004 06:25 PM

In the middle of mayhem.
Rookie Courtney Watson is counted on to anchor the Saints' defense
Friday, September 10, 2004
By Brian Allee-Walsh
Staff writer
Courtney Watson is only a rookie. But when he takes the field Sunday against Seattle, he'll try not to think about that.

As a middle linebacker in the 4-3 alignment, he'll have more important things on his mind.

He'll think about getting his teammates lined up correctly against the Seahawks' West Coast offense, tackling running back Shaun Alexander and sacking quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

"I try to think about the game plan and not concentrate on stuff that won't matter once the game starts," said Watson, a second-round pick from Notre Dame.

"It's going to be emotional. But it's going to be emotional for everybody because it's the first game of the season. I'm sure I'll have butterflies before the game and I'll be nervous. That's the way I am. But once I hit the field, it all turns to energy and I'm just excited to be out there."

Watson said he had a similar pre-game experience in his first start at Notre Dame when the Fighting Irish traveled to play Nebraska three years ago.

"It was a night game, and the atmosphere was so electric," said Watson, who turns 24 Sept. 18. "It's going to be the same way here Sunday. It's going to be electric."

He paused.

"I just hope I don't faint on the field that first series," he said, laughing.

Those who know Watson assure that he won't. In fact, one of the most impressive things about Watson is his ability to keep his emotions under wrap.

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