By Rob Gray, correspondent
AMES — He’ll block.
Anything else, Jeff Woody?
“I’ve seen it all, heard it all,” the former Iowa State walk-on said of his Cyclone career.
On paper, the fifth-year senior who rumbled for the game-winning touchdown in the landmark 2011 triumph over Oklahoma State remains a running back.
On the field, fans will likely see him all over the place — including at tight end.
“As much as they’ll let me,” said Woody, who will play somewhere in Saturday’s 2 p.m. sprig game at Jack Trice Stadium. “It’s a fun position. You get to be physical, you get to be nasty on blocks. Occasionally you get a bone tossed your way and catch a route. And when you catch a pass, rather than taking a handoff, you’ve got nothing but open space.”
Most of his career, Woody’s been understandably hitched to the term “short yardage.”
Third and inches?
Send in the 240-pounder.
It’s been a largely successful relationship, but Woody’s eager to diversify in his last go-around.
So far, ISU coach Paul Rhoads has liked what he’s seen.
“ Woody has had three straight days of really making us a better offense, making us a better football team by doing a number of things,” Rhoads said Tuesday. “Things he hasn’t really done at all, or to a level that we need him to, the previous three years. That’s physical blocking. That’s moving around, motion as an H-back that’s even lining up in the traditional tight end location. And he carried the ball well in (last) Saturday’s scrimmage.”
The Jeff-of-all-trades attributes flow from the addition of the pistol formation to the Cyclones’ spread offense, but he’s shown versatility before.
He caught three passes last season, with two going for short touchdowns.
He’s reached the end zone 11 times in his career — and uncorked a career-long 43-yard run in last season’s bowl eligibility-clinching 51-23 win at Kansas.
But carries may be hard to find with the likes of James White, Aaron Wimberly, DeVondrick Nealy and Shontrelle Johnson — once he’s healthy — roaming the backfield.
Hence the tight end proposition, a move made easier by spring camp injuries to Ernst Brun (concussion-like symptoms) and E.J. Bibbs (shoulder).
“It’s been a good transition,” Woody said. “I like the position.”
Both Brun and Bibbs are back and fully engaging in contact drills, but Woody’s new tag has stuck.
“You know where the plays are supposed to hit, so when they call a certain run play, you know what the running back is looking for so you can kind of set up what (he) wants,” he said. “You’ve been in both positions. You can see. The coach can talk until he’s blue in the face, but until you’re in the running back’s shoes, you don’t know exactly what they’re looking for.”
Woody does — and he’s created multiple paths to more playing time.“Using all the pieces that we have,” he said, “is what I see going forward.”