Quarterback Logan Woodside, right, set single-season UT records for yards and touchdowns last season, which was reflected in the numbers of receiver Cody Thompson, left. BLADE/KURT STEISS
When you see University of Toledo receiver Cody Thompson rise up to haul in a long pass from quarterback Logan Woodside on a Saturday at the Glass Bowl, there is a decent chance the two made the same connection on the golf course, in the park, or in the backyard.
Or they visualized it watching film, or imagined it watching some of their friends play in the NFL.
For the talented senior duo, it is all football all the time, and it’s been that way since they each arrived on campus.
“Wherever we are, there is always a football,” Thompson said. “When we are golfing at Ottawa Park, we have a football. We are always playing catch, talking ball, and hanging out, whether it’s watching some of our friends in the NFL, or watching old game tape, or last year’s game tape.
“We actually joke around and say how much of our conversation isn’t about football. It’s probably like 10 percent of our conversations are not about football. We enjoy it. We love the game, so we don’t mind.”
When Thompson came to Toledo in 2014, he — like many freshmen — had a lot of questions. So the first person he reached out to was Woodside, who had just completed his freshman season.
“Before I came I knew who he was. I remember I reached out to him on Twitter and just asked him some questions, just as a freshman coming in and not knowing much,” Thompson said. “We kind of talked about how things were and how things rolled.
“We kind of connected from then on out and became best friends. He helped me with learning the offense and how things went around here and the tradition. He just took me in and showed me the ropes, and it has become a long, good friendship.”
To Woodside, a football junkie himself, Thompson immediately stood out as a guy who was willing to work hard to improve. Thompson was lightly recruited out of Huron, where he played quarterback, but demonstrated early on he had the drive to be a successful receiver.
“I didn’t know much about him,” Woodside said. “He just stuck out to me as a guy who worked hard and wanted to learn from the start, and I think he’s continued that.
“I remember he was still in the dorms that year, and he would come over, and we would hang out at my apartment. I just tried to look out for him because I knew how good he could be.”
Thompson played sparingly as a freshman, while Woodside put up good numbers as a sophomore (2,263 yards and 19 touchdowns). In 2015, Woodside was beaten out to be the starter by Phillip Ely and took a redshirt season. Woodside leaned on Thompson to get through his year off the field.
“I don’t talk to a whole lot of people about personal issues or anything, but that is one guy that never judges me and I can always count on to talk to,” Woodside said.
Fresh off Woodside’s redshirt season, the connection and chemistry Woodside and Thompson had been building finally had a chance to develop in game situations.
The pair piled up monster statistics in 2016.
Woodside set single-season UT records with 4,129 passing yards and 45 touchdowns.
Thompson set the single-season mark for receiving yards with 1,269, averaging 19.8 yards per catch.
“With him being such a smart football player and putting a lot of hours of hard work in, he just knew what to expect going into the game,” Thompson said of Woodside. “He was calm, cool, and collected on every down of every play. He was playing to have fun.”
The passion and joy for the game is apparent with both.
“We just continue to work hard each day in practice and we don’t take any day for granted,” Woodside said. “It can be taken from you at any time, so we just continue to go out there and enjoy it.”