After nearly being thrown into the fire last season and burning his redshirt, redshirt freshman Zach Wood has been working with the first team all spring and is challenging for playing time while redshirt sophomore Beau Barnes and redshirt senior Kevin Grenier recover from injury.
The defensive end position is key to setting the edge in the defense and allowing the linebackers to get clear blitzing lanes with their quickness on stunts. Defensive coordinator Tom Mason is impressed with his development and skill set.
"He's about where we thought he'd be. He's got size and quickness and those are the things we look for in a defensive end and he can run. The whole thing about him is he has the right attitude cause he's going to play young here," coach Mason said.
Wood is happy with the time he is getting with the first team during the spring because of the time he's been learn the defense and improve his technique. Wood prides himself on his strength, which he believes is coachability.
"I'll mess up and coach will tell me to do something else and I'll do it and get it done," Wood said. "I like working with the best guys on there and it's been helping me out and making sure I get everything done."
With Wood's development, the defensive end position is extremely deep for the Mustangs with a lot of players ready to step in and contribute when needed. Mason believes Wood will see his time on the field if he continues to develop.
"He's about where we thought he'd be. He's really a quality player and we felt that when we recruited him. He came really close to playing for us last fall and we were on the verge of any game in the fall he could have come out of that redshirt. He's got himself in position that he's going to see considerable playing time and pushing for a starting job," Mason said.
Wood is focused on his first college games and contributing.
"Just getting out there and having my first college game and getting ready to go and doing my best," Wood said.
With Wood's development continuing and the time he will put in over the summer during workouts and fall camp. The Mustangs are set with their defensive ends as one of their strengths on the defense.
· Redshirt junior Steven McCormack made a diving catch along the backside of the endzone before proceeding to pump fake the ball in the face of the defensive back as a celebration that got a lot of laughs from the offense and perplexed looks from the defense. · During the redzone drills in 7 on 7, the offense hit at least 5 back shoulder fades for touchdowns over DBs. · The quarterbacks were much more accurate today especially in the redzone, where they missed only 3 throws in 15 minutes. · The defensive line worked on 1 on 1 pass rush drills against the offensive line during the 7 on 7 period. · Coach Jones did not speak with reporters after practice.