|Woods is workhorse for offensive line|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Sept. 14, 2004 - Having grown up on a horse ranch and with a goal of becoming an equine veterinarian, Wes Woods knows the difference between a quarterhorse and a plow horse.
He and his coaches realize a plow horse can be just as valuable - though not as recognizable - as those which are sleeker and faster.
He lives it, too, because in football, offensive linemen like Woods are the equivalent of plow horses. They labor in relative obscurity, but not without a purpose.
"Offensively, you're only as good as your guys up front," said SSHS head coach Brad Turner. "They've been playing well, and I think they have a good chemistry as a unit, which is a credit to Coach (John) Albritton and Coach (Carl) Hornback, but it's also a credit to those kids. I think Wes is a big part of that.
"He's probably the cornerstone of our offensive line right now. He's the only returning starter from last year playing on the offensive line. He's the senior member of that unit."
Woods (6-1, 235) started at three different positions last year as a junior, and he has found a permanent spot at right tackle this season. It doesn't matter where he plays as long as he's on the field on Friday nights.
"I will do what's best for the team. That's all that really matters, and that's what everybody's attitude should be," he said. "Wherever the coach puts you, that's his decision, and he knows what's best for the team."
Woods has been interchangeable on the line because he's intelligent enough to adapt to the different positions. He's currently taking all honors courses as he eyes a future as a vet.
The offensive line has to make check calls on every play as they account for all the defensive players in the box. It takes a combination of brains and brawn.
"They will check or change or modify a blocking scheme on every play," Turner explained. "There is a lot going on in there, and they have to be familiar with all of that. If you're not good up there, it makes for a long night on offense because it all starts with them."
But, Coach Turner also sees some leadership qualities in Woods that make him valuable. As the only returning starter and one of only two seniors starting on the offense line this season, he has become more vocal.
"I think if you look at Wes, what he does better than anything is that he helps in leading that group, and that group is one of the most important units on the team," Turner said. "He keeps them together. They'll meet after practice, and if things aren't going good, you'll always hear Wes verbally getting after them on the practice field and making sure they're doing things right.
"You have to have guys like that. I consider him one of our better leaders on the team, and he's a good player, too."
The offensive line has taken improved from the first game, when the Wildcats generated less than 200 yards of offense, to a unit that paved the way to over 300 yards rushing against Forney and did not allow a sack in 35 pass attempts against Poteet.
With the addition of Zane Attaway, who has been out of action with a concussion since before the Whitehouse scrimmage, to the combination of Jose Vargas, Cole Strawn, Jacob Jenkins and Chris Berry, the O-line should be even more strengthened.
"It requires so much physical ability and strength that people get banged up. It takes so much out of you to be out there because you get hit every play," Woods said. "There's not a single play that you have off in the offensive line."