Woods Faces Final Opportunity to Make Plays for WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Woods Faces Final Opportunity to Make Plays for WVU

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MORGANTOWN -

Time is running out for J.D Woods.

The senior receiver has just one more season to make the impact he envisioned when he first signed to come to WVU back in 2008.

Woods made a big splash on the scene in Morgantown when his first career reception went for a touchdown in the season opener back in 2010. The catch was the first score of the year for the Mountaineers and gave both Woods and WVU fans a reason to be intrigued, if not flat out excited, about his future.

But for the rest of the year, he managed just 17 catches, good for sixth on the team. He had four starts in what he hoped would be a breakout season or at least one to build on for the coming season.

With a pass happy offense coming to campus in his junior year, he figured to get that opportunity for building as Dana Holgorsen made no secret of his plan to rotate eight receivers through four positions each game.

But after recording at least one reception in eight games as a sophomore, he had just seven catches in three games through 2011. His 205 yards dwindled to a measly 67.

For Woods, like many other candidates for those eight spots, consistency had become an issue.

Holgorsen could not go through a post-practice interview in the fall without being asked about Woods' progression and if he had begun showing that consistent effort and performance in drills. Apparently he had not.

"I think you just have to be there mentally," Woods says to explain consistency. "You can't think about anything else, just keep your mind on the game."

At 6-foot-1, 189 pounds, Woods possesses the size and the speed any coach would be glad to split out at receiver. When camp opened this spring, Holgorsen saw from his rising senior what he had hoped to see all along.

"J.D. Woods looked good today," Holgorsen said before catching himself. "I'll probably kick myself by saying that. He looked good."

It is Woods' job now to ensure that whatever he showed to warrant that sort of reaction from his head coach is what he displays each time he steps on the field for the rest of spring and through the fall.

Woods is not one who ever had to try hard to fit in. Since he came to West Virginia he has been a character in practice and on the sideline during games while constantly providing his teammates with support.

Those traits only take a person so far, though. He wants to make an impact on the field, not just the sideline and in practice.

"JD, his energy is always great at practice," says junior receiver Stedman Bailey. "He sometimes helps other players uplift themselves and his energy is just great. I know he understands that he has only one year left and he's been playing like it."

That turnaround may have been sparked back down in Tampa, as Woods returned to his home state and found himself targeted more than he had been since midway through his sophomore campaign. His four receptions for 38 yards represented the third-best receiving day for the team behind Bailey and Tavon Austin, which is just about as good of company as Woods can keep on the box score.

"I believe toward the last couple games, South Florida game, it was a big motivator," says Woods. "I was able to find myself again and make plays."

And now, that's all he can talk about.

Ask Woods what the secret to success in his senior season is and he says simply to make plays. He uses the phrase time and time again to the point where you're forced to believe that he is saying it for his own benefit as much as he is answering a reporter's question.

"This is my last go around," he says. "You don't get too many more chances, so just make plays. When that ball is in the air, just make a play."

In four years with the program, Woods has learned many things about the game and about what it means to be in the position he and his teammates are in to play it. His message to them, and to himself, is to take advantage of the time they have on the field because one day soon it will be over.

"I just tell the guys when you're out here, make the best of your opportunity," says Woods. "This is an opportunity. Not a lot of people get this chance and it's a blessing to be out here, so just play hard each and every play."

Woods has one last opportunity. In truth, it has already begun. He is constantly working to prove himself worthy of a place on the field this fall. Should he get it, he has just one goal in mind.

Make plays.

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