Woods Emerging as a Leader in Ole Miss Secondary
Sept. 6, 2017

By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com

Oxford, Miss - More than twice this season, Ole Miss defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff has pointed to safety Zedrick Woods as a guy who has become a leader in the Rebel secondary, stabilizing the unit with his consistent play.

"I see it as an honor for a coach to see me like that," Woods said. "I have to live up to that standard and come with a mindset every day to work."

The junior from Lake City, Florida was second on the team in tackles a year ago and was a birght spot in a difficult year for the Ole Miss defense. He's taken more of a leadership role this season and has helped some of the younger guys in the secondary develop. Jaylon Jones, a sophomore transitioning from cornerback to safety, is a good example of that.


"That is someone they asked to take under my wing because he is transitioning sometimes from safety to corner," Woods said. "So he really has to learn the defense and I have been spending a lot of time with him in the film room."

Woods had three tackles and two pass breaks ups in the season opening win over South Alabama. But he wants to see more out of this year's defense.

"We were definitely displeased with the way we tackled," Woods said. "We know we can tackle better. It is just a lack of focus. Of course we can all tackle, it is just putting in the mindset of making a great tackle."

Ole Miss did a better job of making adjustments against the South Alabama run game in the second half. Woods pointed to the small things such as his alignment being a slightly off as the difference between stopping a running back in the second level or having him run by.

"That extra two yards for us as a safety can cause a running back to get oustide of us. So it is just assignment, alignment and getting the job done," Woods said.

With two years of game experience under his belt, Woods is taking ownership of the defense. He knows he is now one of the veteran guys on this team and is assuming the responsibility of one.

"I take it as if something goes wrong it is on me," Woods said. "I feel like this year I have more of a leadership role in making sure everything is lined up."

He feels more comfortable in what he feels is a simpler defense under McGriff and he's eager to get back onto the field and flash the defense's improvement.

"I am real comfortable," Woods said. "This defense is allowing us to play fast and physical. He is not throwing too much at us. I am really comfortable with it."

Matt Luke said after practice that Qaadir Sheppard and Jordan Sims have practiced this week and should be ready to play on Saturday. D.D. Bowie had surgery on his thumb to repair a torn ligament and will not play. Luke hopes to have his freshman defensive back by next week's game against Cal.

Kickoff against UT-Martin is set for 11:00 a.m.



 

 

    • A Closer Look: Offensive Line

      Monday, January 15, 2018 - Football

      This is the fifth of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Returning in 2018: Greg Little (Jr., 2L), Sean Rawlings (Sr., 3L),... read more

    • A Closer Look: Tight Ends

      Thursday, January 11, 2018 - Football

      This is the fourth of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Dawson Knox (10 catches, 324 yards) Returning in 2018:... read more

    • Luke Named Grand Marshal of Biloxi's Mardi Gras Parade

      Thursday, January 11, 2018 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke will return to home to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in February. Luke was named the Neptune Parade Grand Marshal and will lead the Krew of Neptune's annual Mardi Gras Parade. The parade is... read more

    • A Closer Look: Wide Receivers

      Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - Football

      This is the third of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performers: A.J. Brown (75 catches, 1,252 yards, 11 touchdowns), DaMarkus... read more

    • A Closer Look: Quarterbacks

      Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - Football

      This is the second of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Jordan Ta'amu (115-of-173, 1,682 yards, 11 touchdowns, four interceptions)... read more

    • A Closer Look: Running Backs

      Monday, January 8, 2018 - Football

      This is the first of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Jordan Wilkins (155 carries, 1,011 rushing yards (6.5 avg.),... read more

    • Tyree Aiming to Become Vocal Leader for Ole Miss

      Sunday, January 7, 2018 -

      Ole Miss needed a lift in the final eight minutes of Saturday's win over Mississippi State. The Rebels trailed 51-42 and were in the midst of a horrible shooting night that had them on the fast track to falling to... read more

    • Luke to be Part of Coaches Film Room During National Title Game

      Saturday, January 6, 2018 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke will participate in ESPN's Coaches Film room during Monday night's national championship game between Georgia and Alabama. The Coaches Film room is part of ESPN's MegaCast for the championship game that includes 20... read more

    • Rebels Relying on Guard Play Against Mississippi State

      Friday, January 5, 2018 -

       Andy Kennedy has made his team's path to success this season abundantly clear. Ole Miss has to play with a blue-collar mentality on the defensive end and needs its guards to carry most of the scoring load. The latter was part... read more

    • NFL Rebels: Adeboyejo's Christmas Surprise

      Saturday, December 30, 2017 - Football

      The waiter began removing the clean plates and silverware from the three empty seats on the white cloth. There was no need for them. The only chair occupied at this four-person table at Sonny Lee's Hunan Taste restaurant in... read more

    • Ole Miss Begins SEC Play Against South Carolina

      Saturday, December 30, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss begins a new segment of its season on Sunday and arguably its most important one as South Carolina comes to The Pavilion to tip off SEC play. It was an up-and-down non-conference season for the Rebels who lost three games at... read more

    • Gates Recognized at Jackson TD Club Dinner

      Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - Football

      JACKSON, Miss. -Days after playing his final game in an Ole Miss uniform, Gates made his way to down to Jackson to be presented with the Jackson Touchdown Club's Most Valuable Senior Award Monday night. The award is exhibited... read more

    • Luke Ready for Opportunity at 'Dream Job'

      Monday, November 27, 2017 - Football

      OXFORD, Miss. - Matt Luke gripped the podium and grinned toward a crowd of media after being introduced by Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork as Ole Miss' next head football coach. With tears in his eyes, the... read more

    • Brown Shines in Return to Starkville

      Friday, November 24, 2017 - Football

      STARKVILLE, Miss. - A.J. Brown gathered his teammates in the visitors tunnel in the moments before Ole Miss took the field on Saturday night at Davis-Wade Stadium in the Egg Bowl. He swatted their shoulder pads and told them to lock... read more

    • Ball Qualifies for U.S. Women's Amateur

      Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - Women's Golf

      By Alex Sims for OleMissSports.com The list of Ole Miss women's golf representatives on the U.S. Open circuit grew once again on Monday. Incoming freshman Conner Beth Ball qualified for the 117th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. The Madison, Mississippi native is excited... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook