Logan Woodside eludes a Western Michigan player during a 2014 game. Woodside threw for 2,263 yards as a sophomore that season. BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
After a three-way competition that lasted throughout spring practice and into fall camp, University of Toledo junior Logan Woodside will enter the season as the team’s starting quarterback, head coach Jason Candle said Monday.
Woodside, who passed for 2,263 yards as a sophomore in 2014, beat out junior Michael Julian and redshirt freshman Mitch Guadagni to earn the starting job.
“I thought it was a great competition for those guys throughout fall camp,” Candle said. “I thought all three guys brought a lot to the table. Not to discredit anything that those two guys have done throughout preseason preparation because I thought Mike and Mitch both had very good camps. But Logan was on a different level for most of camp.”
Filling in for injured starter Phillip Ely in 2014, Woodside ranked fourth in the Mid-American Conference in passing efficiency (142.5) and completion percentage (62.5) and led the Rockets to a win over Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl.
He had more than 300 yards passing against Cincinnati and Eastern Michigan and threw five touchdown passes against Eastern.
With Ely back in 2015, Woodside took a redshirt season and came into this year with junior eligibility. Candle said the year off helped him mentally prepare for this season.
“I think last year helped him immensely sitting back and being able to watch some of the things that Phillip [Ely] brought to the table,” Candle said. “He was able to kind of pick and choose from that and add to his already great abilities.”
Woodside admitted that it was tough sitting out last season, but he said he really learned a lot from watching Ely play and lead the team.
“Phil was a great quarterback and a great leader,” Woodside said. “From the mental side of it he really just had it all. So I just tried to take everything I could from him. We really worked together on game plans and stuff even though I wasn’t out there. I used my my practices during the week as games to help me get better.”
Woodside was forced into action as a true freshman in 2013, playing in four games and starting one.
“I think unfairly as a freshman, he was forced into action due to injuries and due to bad recruiting on our part,” Candle said. “We kind of got stagnant there a little bit. Ideally you wouldn’t want to count on a freshman quarterback coming in and playing. But he did. He had to and he played well.”
Woodside said the competition this preseason with Julian and Guadagni brought out the best in him.
“Those are two great guys and two of my good buddies,” Woodside said. “We definitely pushed each other to get better and those two definitely got better, so I knew I had to step my game up if I wanted to play quarterback here.”
It wasn’t necessarily a relief when he was named the starter, Woodside said, but more of a sign that more work and preparation needed to be done.
“Now I have to prepare even harder than I have been,” Woodside said. “I have to find a way to lead this team and get wins.”
GLASS BOWL: Renovations to the east side of the Glass Bowl are taking shape and will be ready in plenty of time for Toledo’s home opener Sept. 10 against Maine.
The goal of the renovation project is to expand the concourse and create a better game day experience for fans on that side of the stadium. The project has opened up more of the space in the concourse and will make it easier to navigate on game day.
“Our main objective in working with athletics was to improve the fan experience on this side of the Glass Bowl,” said Jason Toth, associate vice president for facilities and construction at UT. “We were trying to improve the experience and create a stronger connection between the activities that happen out in the concourse and the stadium.”
Work crews are finishing up an expansion of the concourse on the east side of the Glass Bowl. The Rockets’ first home game is Sept. 10 vs. Maine. THE BLADE/LORI KING