Having it Both Ways

There's no doubt that Iowa State's <b><a href=http://scout.theinsiders.com/a.z?s=171&p=8&cfg=null&c=1&nid=335051&yr=2003>Joe Woodley</a></b> is a throwback to what football players were like in the past. He is the exception to the rule in college football today, where athletes either play offense or defense.

Woodley has become a two-way contributor for the Cyclones during his junior season, making an impact at fullback and linebacker. He currently shows up in the ISU depth chart twice, as the starting blocking back for Hiawatha Rutland and backup to Brandon Brown at WILL linebacker.

"Whatever side needs me the most is fine with me," said Woodley, who is coming off a seven-tackle effort against Troy State last week. "Either side is fine as long as I'm playing and we're winning. It really doesn't matter where I am.

"I like getting in there and mixing it up. It's just something that we've had to do, because we've got a lot of young guys at linebacker and guys that might not be ready for Division I football yet. I've been around it for three years and know what it's all about. We really don't have a lot of depth over there and Coach McCarney asked me if I wanted to do it and I did it happily. It's been a lot of fun."

Although he would like to some day be a more permanent fix, Woodley appears to be a short-term solution to the Cyclones' lack of depth at inside linebacker.

True freshman Jimmy Morris appears headed for an injury redshirt and his fellow classmates are simply not ready for Division I football. Another possibility heading into this season, JUCO transfer Max Steward failed to qualify academically and never made it to campus.

"If I do well, I'm sure Coach Mac is going to keep me over there," he said. "I don't know if it's just for this year or not. At least I hope it's not. If I'm good enough, I'll probably stay over here. If not, they'll probably bring somebody in or one of the younger guys will step up. If they're better than me, that's fine, because it's all about the team."

Woodley has tallied eight tackles in all this season, including the seven he recorded against Troy State. Against the Trojans he played 15 snaps on both offense and defense, while hitting the field for 10 on special teams. He has just two offensive carries this season, but scored a crucial touchdown at Iowa. Woodley was limited somewhat by a concussion suffered against Kansas, but has returned to the field at 100 percent.

No matter where he ends up in the future, Woodley's two-way duty has been admirable. At least one fellow teammate knows what it's like being asked to switch sides.

"I know what Joe's going through," said JaMaine Billups, who moved from running back to strong safety shortly before the start of preseason camp. "Making the transition, you've got to get your mind right and set for both offense and defense. On offense, you've got to go out there, know the plays, what holes to look for and the cutback lanes. On defense you've got to have your mind set on hitting whatever gap you have and make sure you secure the tackle."

But that's obviously been no concern to this throwback.


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