Woods looking to contribute in final year as a Mountaineer
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 00:08
J.D. Woods’ career as a member of the West Virginia football team has been a roller-coaster ride, to say the least.
The redshirt senior wide receiver has suffered injuries, earned playing time, lost playing time and even changed positions.
But no matter how he has gotten to this point, one thing is clear: Woods is new and improved in 2013.
"I’ll give J.D. (Woods) a ton of credit. He’s been fast. He’s real assertive. He’s a whole different person," said West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.
Woods appeared in nine of the 13 games a year ago, including earning a start in the final two outings.
During spring workouts, the Naples, Fla., native made the switch from outside receiver to inside receiver.
With woods on the inside, he feels he might have an upper hand on some of his defenders.
"My height can give me an advantage on some of the smaller defensive backs," he said. "I can also use my illusiveness a little bit out there."
But Woods has no preference where he plays; he just wants to contribute however he can.
"I’ve just been keeping a stable mind," Woods said. "Just make plays; that’s all I’m concerned about. When coach puts me out there, just make a play."
For the ambitious wide receiver, the recent change in his play led to head coach Dana Holgorsen deeming him as an "obvious starter" as fall camp concluded.
The news, combined with his career coming to an end, have motivated Woods to make a true impact this season.
"This is my last opportunity," he said. "I don’t have too much time left here at West Virginia, so I’m going to do everything I can to contribute and make plays.
"I can’t worry about last year. I can also worry about this year and continue to make plays."
Woods and the entire West Virginia offense feel much more confident this fall camp. With already a year of experience in Holgorsen’s unique, pass-happy offense, they are ready to make the next step and play at a faster pace.
"Things come naturally in this offense, and now it’s our second year. We’re getting a lot more smooth with everything," Woods said. "(We’re) just playing that much faster. That’s the change. You don’t really notice it, but we’re playing a lot faster."
As of now, it appears he has put himself in a great position to make plays, starting with the Mountaineers’ season opener in less than two weeks against Marshall.
But the recent improvements from Woods have led to a challenge from his offensive coordinator.
"My challenge to him is to maintain your attitude right now for the course of the entire year," Dawson said. "The true test is if he can do this for the course of the entire season, which he’s never done."
Woods accepts the challenge from Dawson and is ready to make his presence felt this season.
For No. 81, though, it’s simple.
"I just like playing in between those lines and making plays," Woods said.