With thirteen catches in only one and a half games, D. J. Woods is off to a very good start in 2011. Woods’ production has him tied for No. 34 in the nation, but the senior’s nine catches for 111 yards against Tennessee last weekend is a good indicator that he saves his best football for the biggest challenges.
“I’ve had a solid start for right now, but there’s always room for more improvement,” Woods said. “I want me and all the players on the team to be held accountable, and I want Coach to call my name in the tough situations. I also want Zach to trust me, but we still have a long season to go, and hopefully, I can keep it going.”
Despite making 57 catches for 898 yards last season, it was Woods’ costly fumbles that many remembered, but the Strongsville, Ohio native’s body of work already shows him to be one of Cincinnati’s all-time best. Woods ranks No. 8 on Cincinnati’s career receiving yard list with 1,876 yards, and he is tied with Tye Keith at No. 5 in career receptions with 135. If he can haul in four passes on Saturday afternoon against Akron, Woods will pass Armon Binns and vault his way up to No. 4 in career catches.
Woods is enjoying his success and doesn’t want to even think about the negatives.
“I feel good, and I don’t want to go into a game thinking I can’t fumble, can’t fumble, can’t fumble. I think my whole game would be off so right now I’m focused on knowing my assignment and playing fast. That’s what we do, and everything will work out for itself.”
Because of Cincinnati’s inexperience at the wideout position, Woods was moved from the slot to the “x” position, but he was glad to make the change for the good of the team.
“Wherever Coach needs me to play, I’ll play,” said Woods. “It’s a lot different playing as an outside receiver than an inside receiver. It’s a different world because it’s one-on-one every play, but I feel really comfortable. You saw in the Tennessee game that if Zach needs somebody to throw to, he can throw it to me, but we have other great receivers that can do the same thing.”
As good as Woods has been, he also has one drop, and he explained what happened last Saturday when the ball hit the turf.
“I was trying to get to the (first down) stakes,” he said. “We called a play where the route called for twelve yards, and I went thirteen yards. Because of that, I was late getting out of the break, and Zach had already thrown the ball. When the route calls for twelve yards, I need to run twelve yards and get the other yardage after that. Zach was getting pressured, and I need to do what I’m supposed to do.”
Despite last Saturday’s loss, Woods enjoyed playing against a traditional college power like Tennessee.
“It was a great experience playing in an SEC environment and playing on that grass field,” he said. “It was a great stadium, but I wish we would have left there with a ‘W’.”
This Saturday will be quite a bit different as the Bearcats face an Akron club that has won only once in its last fourteen tries.
“We need to take care of business,” said Woods. “Akron has a great defense and a great defensive scheme. We need to do what we need to do and get the win.”
Woods needs to respect his opponent, but the Zips’ defense has given up 83 points in two games. They are ranked No. 108 (out of 120 schools) in Total Defense giving up 466.5 yards a game.