Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

September 5, 2012

Woodrum getting special teams time at Marshall

MORGANTOWN — Two years ago a tall senior showed up at Bluefield High School football practice having never before played organized football. He went on that season to be a significant part of the Beavers’ team that advanced to the Class AA semifinals.

Saturday afternoon, Joe Woodrum played his first collegiate football game, a member of special teams for the Marshall University Thundering Herd.

“I got to play a little bit on PATs and field goals, and that was good,” Woodrum said following the Friends of Coal Bowl at Mountaineer Field. “Now I’m trying to get a spot at tight end, still working to get up on the depth chart, but it’s all working out and it will all be good.”

Woodrum is listed on the Marshall roster as a 6-6, 236 pound redshirt freshman, about an inch taller and around 10 pounds heavier than when he played for Bluefield High. He gives BHS credit for the values he has that allows him to compete on the gridiron.

“Doc (Holliday) always keeps us on our toes and we’re working hard all the time, the same as with Bluefield,” Woodrum said. “Coach (Fred) Simon, he always kept us on our toes and we were always working really hard.”

An injury sidelined Woodrum last year, but it all worked out for the best.

“The whole injury thing, it worked out since I was red-shirted,” Woodrum said. “I didn’t participate in spring ball, so that hurt me a little bit. I’m just thankful because since I didn’t participate in spring ball, I’ve still got a little bit of playing time on special teams.”

While a lot of players say the biggest difference between high school and college football is speed, Woodrum has another aspect which he sees as the major difference between the levels of play.

“I would probably say the biggest difference between high school and college ball is the size of the kids. When I was at Bluefield I was the biggest kid out there,” Woodrum commented. “Now, those guys are the same size as me.”

Woodrum said that playing in Saturday’s Friends of Coal Bowl and representing Bluefield High School and Marshall University was wonderful.

“It’s great, especially an in-state rivalry like what we just played in, words can’t describe it. It’s a great feeling,” Woodrum expressed. “I remember when I was a little kid watching it (WVU-Marshall game) and thinking how amazing it would be to play, and I’m here now. It’s great.”

Woodrum and the Thundering Herd lost to the Mountaineers, but Woodrum said he and his teammates will continue to give their all and prepare for each game a week at a time.

“Sure, it left a bad taste, but like all the coaches say, we’ve got to move on,” Woodrum said.

 “We’ve got a game this week against Western Carolina and we’ve just got to start game prepping for them and they’re going to be good competition and we’ve just got to stay strong.”

Marshall welcomes the Catamounts of Western Carolina, a former rival when the Herd was in the Southern Conference from 1976-1996, to Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Saturday.

— Contact Bob Redd at bredd@bdtonline.com

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