Speculation was rampant during fall training camp that coach Holgorsen was high on J.D. Woods, indicating in various interviews that Woods was penciled in as the third or fourth receiver. That came as somewhat of a surprise given the apparent depth at wide receiver coming into the season. Last season, Woods was buried behind Austin, Bailey, Brown, Millhouse, McCartney, etc. With Millhouse and Brown graduated, Woods was still projected to be fourth or fifth receiver, battling Nehlen, Thompson, and Myers for playing time.
Woods was not only battling opponents on the field but also in the classroom. He had to focus much of his off-season on getting his grades in order. But all the hard work in the classroom was necessary for the fifth year senior. Woods was determined to make his last year in Morgantown memorable.
“This is my last opportunity,” said the fifth year senior. “I don’t have much time left. This is my last year here at WVU. I’m doing everything I can to contribute and make plays.”
Quote curtosy of: WV MetroNews
With his academic issues in order, Woods was able to focus on his route running. All the hard work in camp paid off, as coach Holgorsen inserted Woods into the role of outside receiver against Marshall. Woods responded to Holgorsen’s vote of confidence by turning out an excellent performance. Quarterback Geno Smith targeted Woods often, proving that he too had faith in Woods.
Woods reeled in 7 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. With just one game in the books for 2012, Woods has bested his 2011 season statistics (7 receptions for 67 yards).
With teams likley to double their coverage of Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey, Woods should get plenty of favorable match-ups with linebackers, safeties, and nickel backs (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Obviously defenses in the Big XII will be more stout than Marshall’s defense, and Woods will have to really shine to put up stats like this past Saturday’s on a consistent basis in league play. But with Austin working the perimeters of the defense and Bailey lifting the top off of coverage schemes, there should be plenty of room for Woods to operate and excel this season.