Sean White (above) is scheduled to make his Auburn debut this week.
Auburn, Ala.--With Auburn making a change at starting quarterback this week with redshirt freshman Sean White taking over for Jeremy Johnson when the Tigers take on Mississippi State, Stan White is a perfect person to talk to about what the young quarterback is going through getting ready for his first career start and playing time.
The school career leader in passing yards and total offense after starting four seasons for the Tigers beginning as a redshirt freshmen himself, Stan White has not only played the game at Auburn, but also spent four seasons with the New York Giants in the NFL. For 14 seasons has has been the color commentator for Auburn Network football broadcasts, giving him a unique perspective on the program since his playing days were done.
“Obviously, I think Sean is probably excited, as he should be,” Stan White said about the change. “He’s obviously worked hard over the last couple of years and the coaches have a lot of confidence in him. It’s kind of one of those bittersweet days because I’m sure Sean White and Jeremy Johnson are very close friends. They have competed and been in the same meeting rooms for a couple of years now.
“I’m sure as much as Sean is ready for his opportunity he probably feels bad for his teammate and his friend, and that’s rightfully so. Jeremy is a great guy and by all respects I think he’s got the chance to be a really good quarterback. Right now he’s probably struggling with a confidence issue and Sean White is going to get his opportunity. I’m excited to watch him play.”
Redshirting during the 1989 season, Stan White’s first career start came in Auburn’s season opener the following year against Cal-State Fullerton. It was something he said was difficult to get used to because of the speed of the game being so different than practices and obviously much faster than the high school experience.
“It’s going to be an adjustment,” he said. “There’s no question about that. Playing quarterback, especially at an early age, it’s almost like a career of adjustments for four years. You’re going to be adjusting to your craft, learning new things, being able to develop not only the knowledge but the physical attributes you need to compete at a higher level week in and week out.
“Make no mistake about it, you always want to get better and grow as a quarterback,” he added. “If you get to a point where you’re not growing or progressing then you’ve got to alter some things. He’s been in this type of offense dating back several years to high school, but there is an adjustment.
“The speed of the game, you can practice all you want every day for a whole year and it’s still difficult to duplicate the game-type situation because the speed just can’t be duplicated on a Tuesday practice. There will be some adjustments for him, but I fully expect him to go out there and do the best he can and I’m sure Jeremy Johnson will support him in every way possible because I know what kind of young man he is.”
Without a single play of college football under his belt other than getting some snaps in the spring game Sean White is still very much an unknown in terms of how he’ll play on Saturday. That’s something you can never tell until a player gets on the field and in game action, but Stan White said he expects to see some good things from the redshirt freshman.
“From everything I’ve heard and even seen in practice he’s a very accurate thrower,” Stan White said. “He doesn’t have the size of Jeremy Johnson, obviously. He’s probably more of a Nick Marshall size, about 6-0, 205 pounds, and he’s not a huge scrambler but he can run, there’s no doubt about that. From what I’ve seen in him he’s very pinpoint.
"Talking with Rhett (Lashlee), I spoke with him in August, he said Sean is a laid-back guy, a South Florida product, but you get him between the lines and a switch kind of clicks on with him and he’s a big-time competitor.
“I look forward to him succeeding. They expect he can go out there and do the job and he believes in himself as well. I’m anxious to see what he does and how the offense revolves around him.”
With three more days of preparation to get ready for Manny Diaz and the Mississippi State defense White will have the opportunity to get more first-team reps in practice this week than at any other time since he arrived on campus. That should help him more prepared for what he will see on Saturday, but Stan White said now it’s just a matter of going out and playing the game he loves.
“There is going to be some excitement and he’s going to have some butterflies,” he said. “If he’s not nervous I would be worried about him, no doubt. The one thing he has to realize is don’t overplay the position. Don’t go out there and try to do too much. Just go out there and do what you’ve done in practice.
“Just control the ball and control the game and don’t overplay the position and he’ll be fine,” he added. “The offense works. It’s proven it will work whether it be running the ball or play-action pass or quick game or the deep passing game it will work. Just go out and do what you’ve done the previous week of practice.
“Just go out there and play football. The thing about it is that it’s a high level of football, but you’ve still got to have fun doing it. The guys that are having fun and running around and coming off the field with a smile, those are the guys having the most success. You don’t want to press so much that it affects your ability to be successful in the play. Just don’t overplay the position and you’ll be just fine.”