Getting to know your Beavers: Storm Woods
With the upcoming Oregon State Beavers football season only a few weeks away, there are definitely things to look forward to seeing. Sure, there are question marks surrounding the issue at quarterback between Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz. And the question of who fills in the gigantic shoes Markus Wheaton left behind at wide receiver. All that aside, one area I find my eagerness overflowing has to be at the running back position.
From early reports and what was seen last year, the talent in the wide receiver pool appears vast. But who is coming out of the backfield for the Beavers should be an open bottle for excitement. Storm Woods is entering his sophomore campaign. As a freshman, Woods ran for 965 total yards while averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Furthermore, he looks like the stereotypical north-south runner. Get the ball and head up field. His repertoire also includes having great hands as a receiver. Gathering 313 reception yards last year, Woods represents a dual threat for the Oregon State offense. Staying healthy would be the only concern at this point, so the offense line will be relied upon to step up and provide enough space for this enormous talent to succeed.
Following up Woods is junior tailback Terron Ward. I’m not sure anyone on last year’s team had more impact than Ward. No, I’m not crazy. I’m saying this from shock or surprise value. It seemed each time Ward touched the ball, good things happened. Each possession for him was crash forward over defenders. He totaled 430 yards last season with a 6.1 yards per carry average and had six touchdowns. He was a sparkplug, bulldozer and beast all rolled in to one. After Woods, things won’t get easier for defenses with Ward’s fearless style of full speed ahead.
With Woods and Ward, this might be the best 1-2 punch Beaver Nation has seen in a while. No question the Beavers will have one of the more potent running attacks in the conference. A much needed asset should the passing game have problems finding its way. I have always said (now Atlanta Falcon) Jacquizz Rodgers’ best stat line was only fumbling once in his three years as the OSU starting running back. After he moved to the NFL, he became the standard for future Oregon State runners. Before him were the likes of Stephen Jackson, Yvenson Bernard and Ken Simonton. It is not fair to say Woods or Ward can stand up to the path left by those before them. Often too high of expectations can only lead to a letdown or disappointment.
That being said, based on performances so far in their careers, any disillusionment by either seems unlikely. Everyday backs only fumbling once in a career? Again, that is a rarity. I expect Woods and Ward to write their own journey. From their statistics to what is actually happening on the field, the two have shown smooth and solid traits where wonderment in not really in the conversation.
Last year, Oregon State as a team out rushed their opponents by a total of 20 yards, almost a dead heat. However, the Beavers averaged 3.7 yards per carry to opponents 4.0 yards. With another year of experience for the offense line, that stat should reverse and improve for OSU’s attack. Moreover, with Woods and Ward as the headliners out of the backfield, this should be one of the positive production points in the Beavers 2013 football season
Written by Ted Trask