Tufts' Wood Getting What He's Earned
When I spoke with Mike Daly before the season started, I asked him if he was concerned about the graduation losses he suffered, especially on the offensive end of the field. I was mostly referring to the loss of D.J. Hessler, the Jumbos playmaker nonpareil, but there was also the likes of Matt Witko and Ryan Molloy who had also moved on.
Daly admitted that those guys would be missed, but he didn't seem as concerned as I thought he might be. He talked about how he had talented guys who had sat behind Hessler and Co., last year and were not necessarily happy about doing it. Now it was their turn.
One of those guys was Beau Wood.
Wood, a native of Sherwood Forest, Md., played in four games last year during his rookie campaign, managing just a goal and an assist on four shots.
Now? Wood has taken over the mantle left by Hessler, leading the NESCAC in points (55), while also pacing the league in goals (44).
"I remember vividly last year that Beau was not playing as much as he'd like," said Daly. "As a freshman in college, it's real easy to look toward summer and getting out of here and getting frustrated because you're not playing. But every time I was around the facility, he was in the weight room and he was on the wall and he was improving and still working his tail off at practice."
Daly takes some solace in the Jumbos failed run to a second straight national championships because it gave Wood and other younger players extra time to work on their skills and immerse themselves in the culture created by the upperclassmen.
"Beau Wood didn't happen this year. Beau Wood happened last year," Daly said. "We couldn't be more impressed with him as a guy and everything he is doing for our team. He's just a direct product of hard work. He had great mentors in Matt Witko and Kevin McCormick and our best players being our hardest workers. I think what gave me the confidence to make that statement early in the year was what I saw last year."
Daly works a lot in maxims. He's not unlike most coaches in this respect, but he has the rare discipline to stay on message despite repeated efforts to draw him off in tangential directions. The motto that he has been hammering home this spring to his team – and the media – has been the "You get what you earn" meme.
Whether it's what happened in overtime in the loss to Trinity or hosting the NESCAC tournament this weekend, it's all a product of what has been earned. It would be difficult to lock down the exact genesis of this motto, but it might have been from watching Wood toiling in anonymity last year.
Ironically, it'll likely be Wood who has the largest say in what the Jumbos earn this postseason.