Wood looks to go out in style

Eric Wood has been an important part of the Louisville football program for the past five years. Saturday against West Virginia, the 6'4, 305-pound senior offensive lineman will play his final game at PJCS and hopes to go out in style with a big win over the Mountaineers.

"It's exciting and it should be fun," Wood said. "It's kind of sad. All the games have been fun – even if they haven't all ended the way we wanted. It has gone fast."

Wood looks forward to closing out his home career at Louisville against West Virginia. It's a rivalry that has produced many exciting finishes during his career - like the 3OT thriller in Morgantown in 2005 and the Blackout game in 2006 that propelled Louisville to a No. 3 national ranking late in the season.

While the Mountaineers (6-3, 3-1) are still in the Big East title hunt, the Cardinals (5-5, 1-4) are still searching for a sixth win and bowl eligibility. Wood also hopes Louisville can end a three-game losing streak with another memorable win over West Virginia.

"This one is fun," said Wood. "Every game seems to come down to the wire no matter what the records are. It's always a battle. This would be a big win for us. We need to get bowl eligible and get back to a bowl game. We need this win. This losing streak isn't fun for the fans but the players are taking it even harder."

Wood is a guy who has definitely deserves respect from the Louisville faithful. He's seen the good times (Orange Bowl) and the bad (current three-game losing streak) during his career at UofL. Through it all, including the bumps and bruises, Wood hasn't missed a game in four years. Wood will make his 48th straight career start Saturday against the Mountaineers.

"Sometimes you play through nicks and bruises – that's being the captain for your team," Wood said.

While his team enters the game with a .500 record overall, including just 1-4 against Big East teams, Wood expresses optimism about the future direction of the program.

"I think we've got a good core group of young guys to build upon," Wood said. "We've got a good stable of young running backs, good corps on the offensive line, losing only one receiver. (We've) got a lot coming back – three quarterbacks and a punter. So offensively it looks to be promising."

"It's a shame we're sitting at 5-5 but I feel like this team is growing in the right direction," added Wood. "We're not getting the negative media attention we got last year as far as disciplinary reasons and you can credit that to Coach K solely. He's improving this program the way he wants to and the way it should be done."

Wood was recruited to Louisville by former coach Bobby Petrino and played his first two seasons for the current Arkansas coach. Though he'll finish his college career under Steve Kragthorpe, the All-Conference center says there's one important trait the two coaches have in common.

"Perfection is demanded of you – that's been a common denominator between the two coaches," Wood said.

Since coming to Louisville as an unheralded recruit from Cincinnati, Ohio, Wood has developed into one of the finest offensive lineman in the nation – and a likely NFL Draft pick.

"I've increased all my numbers in the weight-room," Wood said. "I'm a much more mature player. I still let my emotions get to me sometime but I've become a lot more mature on the field. It's been a fun five years and I don't have too many regrets at all and that's what I'm most happy about."

Wood, a three-time All-Big East performer, has been named to the Remington and Outland Trophy watch lists.

Louisville's 2008 Senior Class

2 Richard Raglin - Atlanta, Ga.
4 Travis Norton - Tallahassee, Fla.
9 Chris Vaughn - New Haven, Ct.
9 Woodny Turenne -. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
14 Hunter Cantwell - Paducah, Ky.
15 Bill Ashburn - Pittsburgh, Pa.
28 Sergio Spencer - Louisville, Ky.
32 Brock Bolen - Germantown, Ohio
34 Bobby Buchanan - Bolingbrook, Ill.
37 Marcus Folmar - East Brewton, Ala.
40 Dane Mattingly - Louisville, Ky.
46 Johnnie Burns - Neptune Beach, Fla.
52 James Bryant - Reading, Pa.
54 Rashad Roberts - Lithia Springs, Ga.
57 Mozell Axson - Lakeland, Fla.
62 Nick Borgelt - Louisville, Ky.
68 George Bussey - Louisville, Ky.
77 Eric Wood - Cincinnati, Ohio
87 Corey Thompson - Atlanta, Ga.
94 Adrian Grady - Nichole, Ga.
95 Maurice Mitchell - Glasgow, Ky.
99 Earl Heyman - Louisville, Ky.

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