By Brad Halasz
It was supposed to be a routine play, but for University of Calgary Dinos running back Anthony Woodson, it was potentially a season ending one.
The All-Canadian is out indefinitely after suffering at least one broken rib, which punctured his lung during the dying minutes of the Dinos 37-17 win against the University of Manitoba Bisons at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.
“He told me that he felt he had a stinger and he just kept playing, he carried the ball probably another half dozen times,” said head coach Blake Nill. “He stayed in on 80 per cent of the offensive plays, but near the end when the conclusion was in sight, he thought he better take himself out.”
Woodson tallied 37 rushing yards and one touchdown in the game, but Nill says it’s what he does without the ball that’s hard to replace.
“The one thing we’re going to miss about Anthony is [how he plays] when he doesn’t have the football,” he said. “That’s where he shines on the field, no one sees that part, but his blocking and his leadership are outstanding.”
Although Nill is confident running back Matt Walter – who tied Woodson with seven touchdowns last year and finished second in Canada West rushing yards– can pick up the slack on the field, he admits Woodson’s leadership will be missed by the 1-1 Dinos.
“My concern is we lost a leader on the team and an integral part of our locker room, and it’s a little bit of a hit on our depth too.”
The official press release stated that Woodson would be out indefinitely while Nill said he has “been told four to six weeks.”
With Woodson sidelined, Nill and his staff are re-arranging their strategy.
“For the next little while we’re going to be preparing our game plans without Anthony Woodson,” he said.
The St. Francis High School product rushed for 1,183 yards in 2007, second best in U of C history, proving his athleticism is that of an elite player.
“If there’s a way for [Woodson] to get back he’ll be back because he is a well-conditioned individual that’s got the mental toughness to go with it,” said Nill.