The Bear is back

Published 12:13 am Sunday, September 20, 2009

Most of the members of the Troy Trojans’ senior class began their final Trojan campaigns on September 3 in Bowling Green against Bowling Green.

One key senior, however, had to wait until Saturday’s showdown with UAB to officially kick off his senior season.

Linebacker Bear Woods was forced to sit out the first two games of his senior year due to an issue that arose when Woods was inserted into a game in 2006 against Alcorn State.

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“We had a brand new coaching staff and they thought I had redshirted the previous year,” Woods said. So, I played some when I wasn’t supposed to play. It was just oversight.”

Woods did not see any other action in 2006, yet his status as a redshirt senior was in question initially.

“We filed an appeal and actually won the appeal, but they said I had to sit out the first two,” Woods said. “’Play in one, sit out two,’ is what they told me, and I was really fortunate to get that.”

The two games that Woods had to sit out were the opening games against Bowling Green and Florida.

Woods said the suspension was extremely hard on him.

“I think that’s the worst thing that can happen to a player,” Woods said. “You’re not hurt, you didn’t do anything wrong, and yet you can’t play two games in your senior year. Plus, we lost those games, so that made it even harder.”

The Trojan defense seemed to struggle without Woods’ leadership, giving up 87 points in the first two weeks of the season.

However, that all changed Saturday against UAB. The Trojans gave up just 14 points and 285 total yards of offense to the Blazers.

Head coach Larry Blakeney said having Woods back made a definite impact.

“I think Bear coming back to the lineup was big,” Blakeney said. “He’s back and looked like the old Bear to me. He ties us or glues us with our chemistry not just on defense, but as a team.”

Woods said the chemistry on defense was noticeable.

“The intensity was there when I stepped out on the field,” Woods said. “There’s just a chemistry there, and chemistry is just one of those things you can’t explain.”

Even though Woods was making his 2009 debut, he said he was able to keep his nerves in check.

“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Woods said. “I was just so ready to play. All week long, my intensity had been building up, and then when I got out on the field, it just escalated even further. I just wanted to hit somebody.”

Woods finished the game with two solo tackles and six total tackles.

However, those numbers were not good enough for Woods.

“I feel like I’ve got lots of room for improvement,” Woods said. “I flied around the field a lot. I made some of the plays I feel like I’m supposed to make, but I didn’t make some of the plays I feel like I’m supposed to make. I would probably give myself a C or a C+ performance wise.”