Q&A: Oregon State's Storm Woods

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
11:00
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Oregon State running back Storm Woods suffered some concussion symptoms after practice on Monday. As a precaution, he was kept out of practice Tuesday and it's unlikely he'll play in the spring game Friday night. But not even a rung bell could keep him from talking with the Pac-12 blog. We appreciate his grit. The rising star chatted about his goals for 2013, Oregon State's quarterback competition and some of OSU's post-victory celebrations.

What are some of your personal goals for this season?

Storm Woods: I have to be more confident. Sometimes last year I would second-guess myself as a freshman and I made some mistakes. I want to be able to run more than we did last year. I also want to be a bigger threat in the passing game and have better execution in the red zone. Field goals are good. But touchdowns are better so we definitely need to get our red zone efficiency up. (Note: Oregon State ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12 in red zone efficiency in 2012 and No. 9 nationally, scoring 91.4 percent of the time).

You started out so great at 6-0 and then went 3-4 down the stretch. Are you guys still frustrated with the way the season ended or have you moved on?

SW: Yes sir. Very frustrated. I know the Stanford and Washington games, we were very capable of winning those. Just mental mistakes with us. Offsides, stuff like that. With Oregon, we just have to capitalize. We gave them great field position with special teams and you can't do that against a high-powered offense like theirs. We just have to learn from our mistakes and get it together.

Is it strange for you not knowing who your quarterback is going to be?

[+] EnlargeStorm Woods
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY SportsStorm Woods hopes his better feel for the offense will lift Oregon State's running game.
SW: Not at all. Both guys throw a pretty good ball. Tight spiral. Both are leaders on and off the field. They help me out in the film room. We just have to do what's best for the program. Them being in a competition, they have to work their butts off, spring and fall. I'm confident in both guys being able to win a football game and to lead us if we do need that game-winning drive.

Are there any adjustments you have to make to them? Sean [Mannion] is a little taller. Does Cody [Vaz] have a different type of cadence?

SW: Not really. It's all pretty similar. We do a lot of ball-handling and I've worked with both, and I work with both throwing me routes so I can get used to both.

You talked about wanting to improve the running game. It was much better in 2012 than it was in 2011. But I'm sure it's not where you guys want it to be. What has to happen for you to take it where you want it?

SW: I'm going to have to stay healthy, durable. Watch more film. And get bigger, stronger and faster in this next offseason and the summer leading up to fall. A lot of it is on me. There were times when I didn't trust a play and I'd bounce outside instead of cutting up. I have a lot of growing to do. I need to get better at trusting the system. I feel like I've got a better feel for the offense and think the ground game is really going to take off this year.

Was there one game last year when it all clicked and started to come together for you?

SW: The Texas game was probably my most complete game -- blocking, catching, running. The other was probably Arizona. I was feeling really good that whole week of practice.

Not surprisingly, those were your two 100-yard games last year.

SW: Yeah. Funny how that works.

I understand you watch film with the offensive linemen. Is it different watching film with other position groups rather than just the backs?

SW: I watch film with all the different offensive positions. Watching with the quarterbacks, I learn to be more tactical in my route-running. Learning to come back to the football because if you don't, that's when interceptions happen. With the offensive linemen, I see the scheme and who blocks who and where the play will hit and where there might be holes in case I need to cut back.

What else do you do to build that relationship with the offensive linemen, since those are the boys who take care of you?

SW: I'm always hanging with them. I'm always eating with them. I have study group with all of them. If something's going on after practice, I'll go out with them. Play video games. There's no greater bond than a running back and his linemen.

What's the best part of winning? Is it the hip-hip-hooray cheer? Or going to In-N-Out?

SW: Ah man. You can't make me choose. I love the hip-hip-hooray. But you can't beat In-N-Out. Best burgers in town.

Fill in the blank. In 2013, Oregon State football will be "__________."

SW: Among the top five in the nation.

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