Trevor Woods is one of the few recognizable names on the Colorado football roster left over from last year’s disaster of a team.
That makes Woods one of the most qualified to recognize the feeling of transformation that has reshaped the Buffaloes program.
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At long last, the new-look Buffs put together by first-year head coach Deion Sanders make their debut on Saturday at No. 17 TCU (10 a.m. MT, FOX) in a rematch of teams that diverged wildly following last year’s season opener in Boulder.
The Horned Frogs, leading just 7-6 at halftime, buried the Buffs after the break to win 38-13 and pretty much didn’t stop rolling until they were pummeled by Georgia in the national championship game. CU got a lone win against California, and wasn’t close in 10 of its 11 losses.
Woods, a junior safety, understands the outside expectations might not be much different this time around for this matchup. Internally, however, Woods believes the Buffs will enter the fray with a much different level of confidence than the group that took the field last year.
“There’s definitely a lot more confidence coming into this year,” Woods said. “Obviously, there’s still a lot of question about this year, but yeah, I’m around it. That’s more for the media and people outside of the building that have the question. But coming in this year, I feel a lot more confident and I feel we’re capable of what we need to do this year.”
It’s not exactly a homecoming for Woods — his hometown of Katy is nearly four hours from Fort Worth — but the matchup does represent Woods’ first opportunity to play a game in his home state. If Woods returns next season, more Texas games could be on the horizon given CU’s pending move to the Big 12, but he’s ready to embrace the opportunity — even if the first game of the Coach Prime era have made tickets difficult to land.
“It’s awesome. I mean, it’s still another four hours north of where I am, but, uh, I got a lot of people coming,” Woods said. “I wasn’t able to get too many tickets. Everyone’s from the south on the team now. So everyone’s looking for tickets, but my family was all good with that, friends, too. So it’ll be fun. I can’t wait for the Big 12 too. Not only do I get to see more stadiums and stuff, but just playing more games in Texas, I got friends at all those schools.”
Woods said this week that much of the defensive preparation has included watching video of last year’s offense at Arkansas. Kendal Briles, the Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator last year, has taken over the same role at TCU after former TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley was wooed away by Clemson. Yet after nine months of hype and preparation since Sanders was hired Dec. 3, finally getting back on the field is a thrill Woods has been looking forward to for some time.
“We’ve watched a little bit of it,” Woods said of last year’s loss against TCU. “We’ve watched a lot more of, like, Arkansas stuff and what the new offensive coordinator did. Because, for us, at least, it’s a big change. I’m pretty sure the offense is watching a lot of TCU defense from that game. I’m not in those meetings as much, so I don’t have to watch that as much.
“This upcoming is my favorite part, actually playing the game. That’s why we’re all doing this. So I’m excited. There’s nothing better than a game day. And personally, I love away games. It’s cool for me to just see stadiums just in general, because I grew up watching a lot of football, so I want to see all those atmospheres. And then I don’t know, I just like being the away team. Hearing the other fans is kind of cool.”
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