Cliff Grassmick / Boulder Daily Camera
The University of Colorado’s Alex Wood is picked up and slammed down by Ifo Ekpre-Olumu, of Oregon, on Oct. 22. Wood, a Steamboat Springs High School graduate, opened atop the depth chart at fullback for spring football at Colorado.
Steamboat Springs Football simply wasn’t fun for Alex Wood anymore.
The 2009 Steamboat Springs High School graduate and former Routt County Athlete of the Year found himself buried on the depth chart at the University of Colorado.
He was sixth among tight ends. He didn’t travel this past season to the Colorado State University game. For the first time in his life, Wood thought about giving up football.
“Last year, I was thinking I shouldn’t be playing football anymore,” Wood said earlier this week. “I was really thinking about life after football. I talked to my parents about it. I was ready to quit.”
But after reassessing things and switching to fullback, Wood is on track to see his first significant playing time of his collegiate career.
Wood opened atop the depth chart at fullback for spring football. He made the switch last year before the Stanford game and saw action against Oregon, when he caught one pass for 2 yards.
The switch to fullback and the change of coaching staffs — from Dan Hawkins to Jon Embree — also has made a huge difference.
Wood has taken to offensive coordinator and running back coach Eric Bieniemy.
“He’s the best coach I have ever had,” Wood said. “He reminds me of a young coach (Kelly) Meek. I fully trust in him. He told me if I put in the work in the offseason, he’d give me every opportunity.”
That’s certainly been the case. Wood, who will be a redshirt junior in the fall, is the oldest running back on Colorado’s roster.
He knows his position at the top of the depth chart could change. Colorado signed two fullbacks this past year.
But for now, Wood is the starter.
He said the change came when he returned to campus from the holiday break. With a new lease on his career, and Bieniemy giving him an opportunity, Wood reshaped himself and fell in love with football again.
“He’s making an impact,” Bieniemy said. “I told him this is his opportunity to interview for a job, and right now he’s doing a great job, and I’m appreciating everything that he does.”
Wood said the biggest focus for him is pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield. Although the Buffs brought in more heralded players, Wood said his goal remains the same.
Be the starter when Colorado opens the season Sept. 2.
“I’m totally dedicated to this,” Wood said. “It’s shown in my attitude and behavior on and off the field. My goal is to be the starting fullback.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com