The Real Deal: DE Dwight Wood

Maryville Rebel defensive end Dwight Wood is not the guy you'll find leading the student section in a cheer at the football pep rallies or singing karaoke at a relatives wedding. He's the quiet kind.

Like they say, it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for. With over 10 sacks on the season and well over 20 tackles for loss, Wood doesn't need to be vocal to be a positive senior leader on the field.

His interesting way of mistreating opposing QB's and running backs has not gone unnoticed with local colleges either. Both Carson Newman and Maryville College, among others have taken notice of this sack monster.

TN Prep Sports asked Dwight about his future, about the Rebels chances in the 4A playoffs and about playing on a Rebel squad that's never known a day that they weren't Region 3, 4A champs in their 4 year careers...

TPS: You had personal goals at the beginning of the season. How are those numbers progressing as the year rolls on?

DW: While I did have personal goals my first priority has always been the team, and though my stats aren't where I wanted them to be at this point in the season my team is.

TPS: You had a pretty humble start on Maryville's squad, as a mop up guy and special teams player your sophomore year. Now that you've started two full years, does it all kinda seem like a blur? What have been some of your favorite memories along the way?

DW: I paid my dues as a younger player just like every one else and I was lucky to be able to learn a lot from the people who played ahead of me. Some of my most memorable times have been off the field bonding with my team-mates. I have countless memories with them that I wouldn't trade for the world.

TPS: Last year you settled into a kind of specialized role of harassing QB's fulltime. Would you rather stuff a RB coming around you're end of the line or crush an unsuspecting QB? If you could play any other position on defense, would you trade DE for another spot?

DW: I will take whatever I can get but there is no better feeling for me than getting a sack. I will always love playing DE. I personally think I am built more to be a linebacker, but my team needed me to play on the line so that's what I did.

TPS: It seems like this senior class at MHS bonded early on (maybe even as juniors) and decided that the shortcomings on the team weren't gonna stop you. Talk a lil bit about what the seniors did to overcome some of the early obstacles this Rebel D unit faced.

DW: We did lose quite a few key players last year but we knew that the players we had coming back could get the job done and we had some younger guys we knew could step-up.

TPS: This is one of the better defensive units Coach Gaylor has had at MHS and that's saying a lot. You're only allowing 10.6 points per game on average and your holding opposing offenses to fewer than 4 yards per play in 2006. Who and what would you attribute those numbers to?

DW: Our success is not contributed to any one individual we all play together and just keep the ball in front of us and trust that one of our guys will get to the ball carrier

TPS: How has the defensive line progressed since the beginning of the year?

DW: We have already exceeded everyone else's expectations but I know that we have yet to play up to our potential

TPS: The Rebels beat a young Halls Red Devil team last week. What were the keys to shutting down their power run game and wide receiver Daniel Dayton?

DW: Well we just put five on the line and made them throw it. We got enough pressure on the QB that he didn't have the time he needed to really get substantial yardage, plus our secondary did very well.

TPS: Next week is really no fun for anyone. Lenoir City is limping along, just looking for something positive to take into next year at 1-9. Maryville has too many weapons and most likely the starters will only see a half of football. How does an undefeated team stay focused, knowing that's what you're facing next week?

DW: Its teams like Lenoir City that have nothing that can really catch you off guard, so we are going to focus on them and make sure that they don't put that blemish on our record. Also we are only guaranteed two more games and it would be foolish of us to squander such a great opportunity to strap it on and hit people!

TPS: The playoffs will be here pretty soon. Maryville has already locked down home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If you could choose your opponents Rounds 1 through 4, who would they be? It looks like Morristown West looms in the future. Is that a game the Rebels still look forward to, knowing the Trojans think their better every year?

DW: Honestly I would like to play some teams with a little more balanced attack. We haven't really played too many teams that can throw the ball effectively and I think that we need some exposure to that to be ready to play in December.

I'll just take it one game at a time but yeah, we like to play Mo West because they are usually undefeated when we play them and we like to test ourselves to see where we stand.

TPS: You've had some early interest from Carson Newman and MTSU. Are you leaning towards any one college for your future or are you still keeping your options open right now?

DW: I'm just keeping my options open right now. I'm sending out highlight reels still and waiting to see who all offers. I liked Carson Newman when we visited them.

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