SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Much has been made of Storm Woods' homecoming in Saturday's Alamo Bowl.
Oregon State's redshirt freshman running back is from Pflugerville, Texas, just up the road from San Antonio, and is thrilled to play near his home.
However, his position coach is going back to his hometown for an unofficial family reunion.
Chris Brasfield is a native of San Antonio, and coaching in the Alamodome against Texas will already be one of his career highlights.
"It's nice to go back home, be where you come from and see all your family and friends — no question," Brasfield said. "I get to see my family down there since it's Christmastime. It will be a great deal for my kids."
Both sides of his family have extensive roots in San Antonio. The Beavers playing there makes it the perfect opportunity for a get-together.
His parents moved to Chicago and made the trip back to town for the holidays and to see their son coach.
"He's just excited going to a bowl game," Woods said. "We'll be able to meet his family and see where he came from. We'll meet his dad. That's really big for him. He's really close with his dad."
Adding to the festivities, his daughter's birthday is Saturday. The family hopes to plan out her celebration, the game and then another celebration after the win.
"I won't get to do everything with the family, but I'll get my time in," Brasfield said. "This is a big week for us. My wife and children, they don't get to see my family much, which is nearly all in Texas."
Leading up to the game he'll stop by Big Lou's Pizza, his favorite eatery made famous by the Man Vs. Food show. Then there are other must-stops at Whataburger and Pappasito's Cantina to make him feel back home.
Brasfield has never been to the Alamo Bowl, now in its 20th year, and rarely sees the game because he's usually working with a team getting ready for a bowl game.
"That's too bad because it's always good teams, good games and good competition," Brasfield said. "Nothing is any different this year."
Brasfield played football at TCU for two seasons and then two at UTEP. He's a Texas guy, and started out coaching in the Fort Worth area.
Playing Texas, the state's premier program, is exciting for him. Beating the Longhorns would be even better.
"It's a big deal," Brasfield said. "That's a good team with a lot of tradition and history. They take a lot of pride in how they do things. We are going to get their best and they play well. They play well in the postseason and it's not going to be different this year."
Brasfield is busy preparing his running backs to face a defense that has struggled to stop the run. The Longhorns have allowed 199.6 yards a game this season.
Woods has been steady this season. He gained 101.2 all-purpose yards a game — 74.7 rushing and 26.5 receiving — in the regular season and scored 11 touchdowns.
Terron Ward has developed into a steady back, averaging 32.5 yards a game and 6.3 a carry. Malcolm Agnew averages 22.4 yards a game. They've combined for six TDs.
All three are in their second season at OSU. Brasfield, too, is a second-year coach with the Beavers.
He's a young coach who's getting the most of his young players. They are growing and learning together.
"Just because we are young, he still has an expectation of us being veterans," Woods said. "It's a learning process. He's hard on us, but not too hard. He brings the best out of us. We do a lot of film sessions with him. He does a lot of extra work with us, because we are young, to make sure we get there."
While the backs are all improving, Brasfield is an important recruiter. Since he has ties in Texas he scouts the state.
He had a hand in recruiting freshman safety Kendall Hill from LaMarque and received a verbal commitment from three-star running back Damien Haskins from New Boston.
"There are so many players down there and they play such good football," Brasfield said. "We have to have a good presence and play well. You never know who is watching. We have a history down there with some good players. And we want to keep that going."