Oct. 19, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — LeVar Woods knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a successful linebacker. He was an All-Big Ten performer at the position at the University of Iowa and enjoyed seven successful seasons as a linebacker in the National Football League.
Woods is passing on that knowledge in his first season as linebackers coach at Iowa. When someone with that much experience says he is happy with his group’s performance throughout the season, fans should make sure to keep an eye on the Hawkeye linebackers Saturday night against Penn State.
“I couldn’t be happier with our group,” Woods said. “It’s a great group of kids that come to practice every day wanting to learn and wanting to get better. You can see the excitement on their faces every time they come to practice. That’s very rewarding, and a lot of fun, as a coach.”
Iowa’s starting trio of linebackers, Anthony Hitchens, James Morris and Christian Kirksey, all rank inside the top-25 in the Big Ten in tackles. Hitchens is leading the Big Ten and NCAA in tackles with 13 per contest.
While the statistics are impressive, Woods knows that individual performances aren’t the focus for his group.
“Anthony has performed well,” Woods said. “But he will be the first one to tell you that he isn’t where he wants to be as a player. No one in the room is where they want to be. That isn’t his goal and it’s not our ultimate team goal. We are all trying to win a championship here and that’s where our focus is at.
Woods and the Hawkeyes took a big step towards their championship goal last weekend with a tough road win at Michigan State. Iowa, now 2-0 in Big Ten play, can make another step in its march towards Indianapolis with a win over the Nittany Lions in Kinnick Stadium.
Woods experienced playing in Iowa’s historic stadium and has played in stadiums across the country. For him, it doesn’t get any better than Kinnick.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play in stadiums all over the country,” Woods said. “I played in every stadium in the National Football League. There is no place like Kinnick Stadium. There is nothing like a game in Kinnick Stadium, and there is really nothing like a night game in Kinnick Stadium. It’s an unbelievable atmosphere. Our fans are the best in the country and it should be a great, electric atmosphere tomorrow night.”