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Woodside making most of opportunity

10/13/2016, 12:15am EDT
By By BRIAN BUCKEY BLADE SPORTS WRITER

UT quarterback gets national recognition

Woodside making most of opportunity

Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside throws a short pass to Jon'Vea Johnson dagainst Eastern Michigan on Saturday in Ypsilanti. Mich. BLADE

One year after losing the starting quarterback competition and sitting out all year as a redshirt, University of Toledo junior quarterback Logan Woodside has emerged as one of the most prolific passers in the country.

The 6-foot-2, 201 pounder from Frankfort, Ky., is second in the country in pass efficiency (204.0) and has amassed 1,691 yards and 20 touchdowns with just three interceptions through five games this season. His 20 TDs are tops in the Mid-American Conference and tied for third best in the nation.

“It was definitely a tough time in my life,” Woodside said of last year. “But I just knew that there was something better to be coming in the future, and I just had to continue to work and get better and not get too down about it, and it has worked out.”

Woodside sat out last year after Phillip Ely won the starting job.

Ely led the Rockets to a 10-2 season.

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Even after Ely graduated, Woodside was not handed the starting quarterback job. In spring practice and through fall camp, Woodside competed with junior Michael Julian and redshirt freshman Mitch Guadagni.

“I definitely don’t want anything given to me,” Woodside said. “And I don't think it ever has. Even when I was in high school I had to transfer high schools and go somewhere else just so I could have the opportunity to play quarterback. It definitely makes you enjoy it more, and you don’t take anything for granted when you have something to work for.”

Off the field, Woodside is a tireless worker and is always trying to find way to gain an edge in preparation, whether that is in the weight room, the film room, or with extra reps with his receivers.

“He’s a really smart football player, in general,” Julian said. “We both watch film and we both talk and figure things out together. He’s always known what to do. He works extremely hard and puts a lot of time in off the field.”

On the field, Woodside has been extremely efficient in spreading the ball around to wide receivers Cody Thompson, Jon'Vea Johnson, and Corey Jones, and tight end Michael Roberts. The Rockets have continually made big plays in the passing game. Woodside leads the nation in yards per passing attempt (11.2) while completing 70.2 percent of his passes.

“He’s doing a good job seeing the whole field,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “He’s distributing the ball to a multitude of different players. He’s really just playing our offense and not trying to do too much. He’s playing within the scheme and within his abilities, and making the plays in critical situations that he has to make.”

In no game was that more apparent than Toledo’s 55-53 loss at BYU when Woodside lit up the Cougars’ defense for a school-record 505 yards passing and five touchdowns, surpassing Bruce Gradkowski’s record for most passing yards in a game. That game helped put Woodside in the national spotlight.

“The record itself didn’t really mean anything,” Woodside said. “Bruce sent me a text and was congratulating me and giving me a hard time about it. The fact that we went out there and played really good on offense, we didn’t win the game, which was really heartbreaking, but that environment and playing on a national stage and being able to play so well was definitely fun and something I will never forget.”

Woodside was pressed into action as a true freshman in 2013 and played in four games because of injuries. As a sophomore, after Ely was hurt, Woodside had 2,263 yards passing and 19 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

Sitting out last season, Woodside was able to continue to develop physically and step back a bit from the games and watch how Ely prepared each week.

“You’re seeing [Woodside] become a leader in front of your eyes because of hard work and preparation and the commitment to doing things right,” Candle said. “We ask an awful lot of the quarterback here, and we always have. He’s really embraced that probably better than he ever has before, and that is probably a good indicator of why he is playing so well.”

Woodside’s main option on the outside is Thompson, his roommate off the field. The two have developed a friendship and they are building a lethal connection on the field.

Thompson said Woodside is one of the hardest workers he has been around, and he and the other offensive players have complete trust in Woodside.

“Logan has been one my best friends since I’ve been here,” Thompson said. “He’s come a long way. He got right out there and played as a true freshman, but if you know the guy and know his preparation, it’s second to none. He could probably call the plays. Coach Candle doesn’t even need to call the plays, he’d be out there and get us in the right calls. I have a lot of faith in him and our offense has a lot of faith in him.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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Tag(s): College  Toledo