Getting to know…The Aberdeen Roughnecks

Next up on our tour of the UK American Football scene, we head way up north to Aberdeen and their offensive co-ordinator. Dont forget to check out our interview with the Manchester Titans here and a whole host of podcasts over on apple podcasts/spotify. If you would be so fabulous and subscribe to our pod and leave a 5 star review, that would make our day.

On with the interview…

Name and Role: Matthew Watt – Offensive Coordinator

How long have you been with the team: 2 and a half years

How did you first get into American Football and what made you go in to coaching:

I started watching American football in 2003 when on holiday in America, with a Sunday night football game. I would watch on tv in the UK periodically over the next few years when I then started watching religiously as I got more into it. I’d always enjoyed the schematics of the game, and after a brief playing career in my university days I decided to message the team to see where I could fit in with the current coaching staff.   

How would you describe the teams play style, do you have a particular way of playing and what does your team try and achieve:

Our style on both sides of the ball tends to follow a more modern style of play with a scheme made to suit the talents of our roster. Offensively we follow utilise mainly spread and air raid concepts in tandem with zone running, with consideration of our speed and agility. This coming season was due to see some new players and coaches come in to employ new ideas and play styles and we felt that we would have a great deal of success scoring points and keeping defences off balance.

Give us a quick reminder of how the team got on last season and what your or the team learned:

We ended 2019 in 3rd place of Division 1 North with a 4-6 record and it was certainly a bittersweet year. The Roughnecks clearly showed they were capable of the level of play of the division however some loses were certainly within grasp and the team hopes to continue to progress and challenge the top teams in the division. 

Obviously the offseason has been disrupted, but did you manage to conduct any offseason training/rookie days (and how important are the rookie days in your view?):

Yes absolutely, we were very much in the final stages of preparation for our last preseason scrimmage and were running through the game plan for game 1 of the season before the unfortunate suspension of all activities. Rookie days are hugely vital to all teams and the sport of American football in the UK in order to keep introducing more people to the sport whether it be playing or coaching. It’s an immensely tough sport to learn so we always want to get new guys in and given as much experience as possible before playing games. We have been lucky over the past couple of years to have rookies come in and contribute for the team and continue to get better in their respective roles. 

What other teams (Flag/Youth) do you have as part of the setup?

The Roughnecks are in the process of building up a youth and junior team and have had great success in building up numbers there.

What has been advised to the players to help them try and stay as well conditioned as possible considering the current pandemic?

As things stand, we’re not asking too much of the players, but we have plans in place to get started at a moments notice should we be lucky enough to get the go ahead. For now, the team is encouraged to ensure they are watching film and processing play designs as necessary.

Do you think we will see any Britball football this season and would you settle for a shortened/more compact season (i.e play each team once, less gaps between games):

I think it’s looking highly unlikely we get any competitive football as we know it this year due the worldwide situation, which is extremely unfortunate. I absolutely believe that the sport in the UK needs to have some form of games this year, I know our team have been working exceptionally hard and it would be crushing to be unable to do anything until 2021. In terms of a compacted season, I do think this could work, and there’s been ideas thrown around, although I imagine there’d be complications in working such things if promotions and relegations were factored in.


Who would win in a tug of war between your Oline and all the defence?

It would be close, but I’d have to go for the O Line this year…

Favourite/least favourite training ground drill?

I’m a big fan of any run fits or running back drills where I’m allowed to strip the ball. Preseason 1v1 drills across the team are always exciting as well.

Which player (or player position group) is most likely to forget their gumshield?

Wide receivers for sure

Which player (or player position group) is most like to sleep on an away game?

I think the unanimous answer for the Roughnecks is #4 Stu Don

Which player (or player position group) think they are in the NFL?

Again, definitely the Wide Receivers…

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