Knockin' on Wood

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Pat Woodcock could be one of the Edmonton Eskimos' best-kept secrets.

At the very least, he's one of the team's least-used assets.

So much was evident Friday as the veteran slotback had three catches for 54 yards in the Eskimos' 20-18 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Heading into the contest, Woodcock, 29, had not caught more than one pass in a game since Aug. 11th against Saskatchewan.

"I think that was just based on what Hamilton did to us last week," Woodcock said of his increased involvement in the offence.

"There were some things that were there. We took advantage of some of them and some of them we didn't. We need to start hitting all of our opportunities if we're going to start winning games."

Only Ed Hervey and Jason Tucker had more catches than Woodcock on Friday. And only Tucker caught for more yardage.

If anything, Friday proved the Ottawa native could be an effective weapon for the Eskimos offence.

"He's definitely as healthy as he's ever been," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "He missed four or five weeks with a hamstring injury.

"With so much attention paid to the other guys, there are going to be opportunities for him to make plays."

Against the Ticats, Woodcock's biggest play came in the first quarter on a rare Eskimos drive, making a 20-yard reception.

The drive stalled on the 12-yard line, when three consecutive penalties pushed the Eskimos back 20 yards and forced them to kick a field goal.

"He's got a good feel for getting open under man or zone coverage," Maciocia said. "He does of good job of finding the space - or what I like to call the cavity - in zone coverage."

Woodcock, originally drafted by Montreal in the 2001 College Draft, was acquired by the Eskimos in the Ottawa Renegades' dispersal draft.

Heading into Friday's contest, the graduate of Syracuse University had 18 catches for 219 yards this season.

He, like the rest of the team, is looking to put the disappointing loss to the Ticats behind him and focus on finishing the rest of the season on a strong note.

"I don't know if we overlooked this Hamilton team after our big win over Calgary," Woodcock said. "If we did, that's a stupid mistake and that cost us four points. We have to take it one game at a time and we need a win that's it.

"You can't look ahead. You just come back to work and try to look at the positives, capitalize on those and build on those for next week."


Videos

Photos