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Double Threat
Tim Layden
November 18, 1996
Michigan's Charles Woodson is a dazzling two-way player, and he's not alone in his versatility
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November 18, 1996

Double Threat

Michigan's Charles Woodson is a dazzling two-way player, and he's not alone in his versatility

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Confidence is the spine of Woodson's game. Challenged by Michigan's departing seniors to hold Glenn in check in last year's regular-season finale, he never let the Buckeyes receiver get completely loose; Glenn caught four passes for 72 yards, but no touchdowns after catching 17 in the first 11 games. "I just didn't want to get beat deep, that's all," says Woodson, who intercepted two passes, including one that killed Ohio State's last, desperate drive. As he ran back that latter one 23 yards, Woodson darted about the field, making tacklers miss, opening a window to the future.

With each passing week in '96, Woodson has further recalled his offensive skills from high school. "I remember what I can do when I get the ball in my hands," he says. Against Indiana on Oct. 19 he reversed field behind the line of scrimmage a la Gale Sayers and scored on a 48-yard run. Against Michigan State he beat coverage on a post pattern for a 26-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Scott Dreisbach. Carr's biggest worry is that Woodson's demanding routine will start wearing him down or affecting his concentration. It's no small worry with Saturday's game at Penn State and next week's game at Ohio State determining whether Michigan lands in a big bowl or a small one, especially after the Wolverines' 9-3 upset loss at Purdue last Saturday. "He can't be thinking about making a great play on offense when he's on defense," says Carr.

Woodson measures the possibility and shakes it off like a feeble block. "I realize it's going to get tougher these last few games," he says. "But I don't get tired." As he speaks, he stands outside a car in the parking lot adjacent to Schembechler Hall, which houses the Michigan football offices. He will soon dash across the lot into the building for a film session on Purdue. But what to study, the Boilermakers' offense or defense? "Offense," says Woodson. Then he leans back into the car, smiling wickedly. "Today."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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