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October 29, 2009

Pick your poison

Everyone knows about the receiving exploits of Mardy Gilyard and how Armon Binns has benefited from the double coverage he is drawing. Binns is not the only one benefiting from Gilyard's play; D.J. Woods has also been able to take advantage of his matchups and is currently having a very solid sophomore campaign.

Currently, Woods is third on the team in catches and second in average yards per game (with Gilyard obviously leading in both categories). Woods has also found the end zone this year after being shut out in his freshman campaign.

Now, he's moved ahead of Marcus Barnett on the depth chart and looks to be developing the skills that could make him "the next Mardy Gilyard" in upcoming years. For the time being, he's just happy when defenses are focusing on Gilyard so that he can find an area to "haul one in".

"Mardy's a great player," said Woods. "Teams focus on one player (Mardy) and me and Armon are confident in what we're doing. When they want to double team one person, we kind of balance out how we're going to get the ball to other receivers and we do pretty well with that."

Unfortunately for Woods, like Gilyard, he's a known commodity. From last year, opposing teams have learned he can run, catch and be elusive. The one that's truly benefited from the double coverages has been new starter Binns who recently has had a nose for the end zone.

"Armon's a great receiver," said Woods. "People kind of don't recognize him because Mardy's making a lot of plays, I'm making plays, and our running backs are making plays too. When Armon gets his chance he kind of focuses in on what he's supposed to do."

The questions this Saturday will be, does Syracuse also double Gilyard (who still seems to score) or do they pay more attention to Woods and Binns. It should be an adventure and it should be conducive to a quick guy like Woods playing indoors with none of the elements to slow him down.

"I've never played indoors before," Woods said about playing in the Carrier Dome. "It's going to be the first time for me; it's going to be a good experience I guess."

Well...every experience is good when you're 7-0, although 8-0 is not a given. This is the sixth of six straight home games for the Orange. They're 3-4 overall, but all three wins have come in the gray multi-purpose facility. They'll also be motivated because they're 0-2 in Big East play so far.

"Every team we're going to play-they're all going to play a different way," said Woods. "Defense and offense, they'll play hard for four quarters so we need to match that."

UC will try to match-up with Syracuse in this one (more than likely) with Zach Collaros at quarterback. While the Bearcat offense was precision-like at times with Tony Pike, until he gets back, Zach Collaros also is doing a pretty good job of moving the chains down the field in short order.

"Tony and Zach, they bring something different to the table, but at the same time, their talent level kind of equals out," said Woods.

Both have the talent to beat Big East teams and both have had tremendous performances on the road in doing so. That'll be a key in this game Saturday...shutting up some of the Orange alumni who maybe enjoyed a little too much "flavored" coffee before the Halloween matinee.

"Every team we play, they're going to do everything they can to beat us," said Woods. "We just need to prepare for that and practice hard every week."

So far, Kelly's seen his team practice hard and the results are pretty obvious. Not only do the results peak interest and generate discussion, it also helps generate top notch recruits who maybe would've never looked at UC in the past.

It's a domino effect, with one blue chip leading to another. D.J. Woods should understand this as he was considered the biggest "get" of his class after Kelly's first full year. Suffice it to say, the other schools that were showing interest in him, AREN'T doing as well as the Bearcats.

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