Craig Woodson hadnt played in a casino game for Cal since Dec. 5, 2020 two days shy of 21 months.
The redshirt junior safety missed most of last season after suffering a knee injury during fall camp.
When the football came his way late in the initial half Saturday against UC Davis, an interception waiting to occur, who could blame him if he wasnt altogether prepared to make the play?
Well, Woodson shouldered the all of the blame.
Ive definitely surely got to profit from that certain, he said. Next-play mentality. Surely got to continue.
And thats just what happened.
On the next play of the next half, Woodson stepped before a pass from Aggies quarterback Miles Hastings, picked it off and raced 39 yards in to the end zone. The Bears 10-point lead suddenly swelled to 24-7.
Through the post-game interview session, the redshirt junior safety from Grand Prairie, Texas, was all smiles.
Yeah, man, it meant really everything if you ask me, he said. Even prior to the game I was emotional, just thinking back again to where I was and where Im at now. It had been an extended journey.
I must say i had to persevere through the entire thing, so just being here and having the ability to play again, Im just grateful.
Woodsons teammates shared his joy.
Especially excited for Craig after obtaining the season he previously this past year and just developing and playing fast, fellow safety Daniel Scott said.
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Really pleased with him, Cal coach Justin Wilcox says in the video above. He hasnt played in quite a while, so its great to possess him back on the market.
Wilcox and Scott were particularly impressed that Woodson, following this type of long layoff, could maintain his focus after missing his first chance at a pick.
Following the first one where it dropped out of his hands, we just tried to inform him to wipe it, continue to another play, Scott said. He said just a little joke if you ask me in the locker room at halftime, said, `Next one, Ill obtain it.
“It just put a smile on my face.
Wilcox reacted exactly the same way.
In the initial half he previously a chance, and he makes that play usually, Wilcox said. He didnt ensure it is not to mention he was frustrated about this. I simply love the truth that he kept playing and he made another one.
Thatll be an emphasis whenever we show it (in meetings). Theres plays sometimes you anticipate to make also it doesnt go the right path. However, not dropping his head, quitting on himself and continuing to play . . . he made a heck of a play.
In the video above, Woodson offers a post-game assessment of Cal’s efficiency on defense in its 34-13 victory over Davis.
Cover photo of Craig Woodson returning his interception for a touchdown by Darren Yamashita, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo