QB Ryan Woods, #7, credits dad and teammates

William Dudley

 

Grossmont quarterback Ryan Woods delivers a pass in Saturday's game against Orange Coast College. Woods would finish the day with 376 yards through the air. (Photo: Andy Wilhelm)

William Dudley

GROSSMONT COLLEGE – “Quarterback is a question mark.”

That was local football guru Bill Dickens’ conclusion in his preseason scouting of local community college teams. Grossmont had a good front seven on defense and a “decent set of running backs and receivers,” but the departure of quarterbacks Brandon Fricke and Matt Jarvis left a void in that important position.

Four games into the season, that question mark has been erased and then some with the emergence of Ryan Woods. The 6’2, 190-pound sophomore from Sacramento was buried deep in the QB depth chart last season, and his on-field play was limited to holding the ball for field goals and extra points. But Woods has gotten off to a torrid start this season in leading the Griffins to wins in three of their first four  games.

Woods has completed 102 of 157 passes (a 65 percent success rate) for 1423 yards and 12 touchdowns.} This includes his September 18 game against Southwestern, in which he tied a Grossmont record by throwing for six touchdowns. Woods did not know he had tied the record until he read about it the next day.

Woods has tried hard not to let things go to his head, and is quick to credit his teammates with his success thus far. “I actually threw some non-great balls” he said to KBC Sports after the Southwestern game, “but my receivers were making acrobatic catches left and right.”

Teammates have responded likewise. “Hell of a game by our quarterback,” said right guard Joshua Spence to The GC Summit. “Made us look good.”

“Ryan is very smart and mature,” said Grossmont head football coach Michael Jordan in an e-mail to The Summit.

“He keeps cool and collected and can throw accurately downfield even with pressure. He is only going to get better as the season progresses.” And about that record? “The 6 TDs probably won’t be the last record he breaks.”

A Woods pass (photo: Andy Wilhelm)

The GC Summit (well, me), got a chance to chat with Woods on the Grossmont football field, and even catch a few spirals.

Q: How and when did you start playing football? What drew you to the sport?
A: I have been playing Football since 4th grade and have always been a quarterback. I grew up loving the sport. My Dad (who is a high school football coach and played receiver for Fresno State in college) had me doing quarterback drills in the front yard my whole childhood.

Q: Was he your coach at school?
A: No, well, he was a coach, not the head coach. Actually, he coached me from Pop Warner all the way up. On the varsity team he was the receivers’ coach. He’s a coach for Sacramento High now.

Q: Some people get sports drilled into them and don’t like it, but it sounds to me like…you’ve always liked to do football.
A: Oh yeah. I took it and ran with it. In the evening I’d ask him to go out to the front yard and play catch. So yeah, I enjoyed it. It was definitely not a forced thing at all. He’s definitely my best friend. fly down from Sacramento whenever they can; he’s made it for about three fourths of the games. He was here last weekend .

Q: Do you have a football hero? A non-football hero?
A: My Dad is my hero. He has been fully supportive of my long college career and has made many sacrifices to help me get to where I am today.

Q: Sacrifices, trips from Sacramento?
A: That, and you know a lot of parents are not exactly thrilled if their kid is in college for six years or something like that, but he’s very supportive, saying “Go play as long as you can.” I had some setbacks, but he never
told me to move on. He told me to “milk it for all it’s worth.” It’s very nice to keep on going knowing your parents are behind you.

Q: So, do you still have hopes for keeping on milking it after this season is over?
A: It’s really hard not to think about it, especially when other people are talking about it. If the right situation presents itself, then I‘ll consider it. But I don‘t want to move far from the state, so options are kind of slim.

Q: How did there come to be a four-year gap between football quarterback starts? Was there any low point in which you thought it would never happen?
A: In the 2006-07 season I gray-shirted for Fresno State. . The 2007-08 season I took a season off trying to find a new school. 2008-09 I was playing for Saddleback Junior College when I caught mono and was forced to miss the season. 2009-10, I was at Grossmont far down on the depth chart and dealing with elbow and hamstring injuries. I definitely was giving up hope and had decided that if anything went wrong this year I would call it quits. But so far, so good. It is a very humbling process and I believe I am a better football player and mature person having taken the long road.

Q: What is the key difference between a great quarterback and a mediocre one?
A: The thing that sets great quarterbacks apart from mediocre ones is the ability to grasp the game of football mentally. Quarterbacks with high football IQs and who have the ability to read coverages significantly add to your chances of success. Game film, board work, walk-throughs etcetera are pivotal in cutting down mistakes and executing effectively. I love being a student of the game and watching film and dissecting defensive coverages due mostly to my outstanding coaching at Granite Bay High School.

Q: How do you like Grossmont and San Diego?
A: I love living in San Diego. I love its beauty and diversity. It offers something for everybody and the weather can’t be beat during football season. I would find it difficult to leave, which is why I would heavily consider going to SDSU after this year.
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Dudley is a student in Media Comm 132.