WVU notebook: Woods fits in as No. 3 receiver
By John Harris
Published: Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, 7:52 p.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia senior receiver J.D. Woods was running out of time.
His college football career was winding to a close, yet his role in the offense remained undefined.
It took longer than he expected, but Woods has found his niche as the Mountaineers' No. 3 receiver behind Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. He played his best game in a 70-63 win over Baylor with a career-high 13 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.
“He's a senior. The light came on,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He didn't play much in camp because he wasn't (academically) eligible. Going into his senior year, he got eligible, and the light came on.”
Woods, who played in 26 career games entering this season, started the final two games in 2011. Still, his status for 2012 was uncertain until he became comfortable with himself and the offense.
Against Baylor, Woods caught a 7-yard touchdown pass on a slant from Geno Smith that tied the score, 14-14, in the second quarter.
“It was a reality check for me,” Woods said. “It's my senior season. I only have a few games left. I need to make every game, every play, count.”
Woods made his biggest play late in the fourth quarter against Baylor when he snared a Smith pass one-handed and turned it into a 13-yard gain. It helped WVU run out the clock and preserve its first Big 12 win.
“I'm proud of J.D.,” Holgorsen said. “He hasn't done a lot around here. He stayed the course. He's doing everything right now. He's practicing hard. He's doing a good job in the classroom. He's doing a good job in the weight room. And he's making plays in the field.”
Rounding into form
In his first game back following knee surgery, sophomore running back Dustin Garrison had two carries for 1 yard against Maryland a week ago. Holgorsen promised Garrison's role would increase against Baylor, and he was featured more in the offense.
Garrison carried three times for 28 yards, including a 17-yard burst late in the game. He added two catches for 7 yards.
“Garrison's coming along,” Holgorsen said. “The more he plays, the more confidence he's going to get.”
Leading rusher Shawne Alston was sidelined with a thigh bruise against Baylor that resulted in him receiving no carries against Maryland. Holgorsen expects the running game to receive a boost when Alston returns, although he noted that Andrew Buie carried 25 times for 82 yards and rushed for two touchdowns against Baylor.
“Buie ran hard, and he didn't turn the ball over,” Holgorsen said. “Obviously, when Shawne gets healthy, it's going to help us.”
Smith's passing yards (656) and touchdown passes (eight) are Big 12 records. ... With 20 touchdown passes through four games, Smith ranks No. 5 on WVU's season list. ... Buie set career marks in rushing yards and carries. ... Smith's 52-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin was Smith's longest scoring pass of the season as well as Austin's longest catch of the year. ... Stedman Bailey has recorded two or more touchdown receptions three times this season.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.