New Orleans, La.--The last time Auburn quarterback Sean White threw a pass in a football game was way back on Nov. 12 when the Tigers lost at Georgia. Bothered by an AC sprain in his throwing shoulder that kept him less than 100 percent since a win over Ole Miss in late October, White is now back and ready to go in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma.
“I’ve been able to throw to every single one of the (receivers) and whatever it takes, without holding back,” White said. “It's felt great. I'm ready to go. I feel healthy again. I'm just excited to go out there and play for my teammates and feel good. I feel 100 percent.”
Getting back on the practice field was the first step for White, who said he owed a debt of gratitude to the Auburn training staff for helping him out on his many visits there over the course of two months. He said his first throw following the off time let him know immediately he was good to go and after that it was all about building back his strength.
“We had a couple of weeks off between the end of the season and bowl practices,” the redshirt sophomore said. “I got to come back to bowl practices after a couple of weeks off and I felt good. Throughout bowl practices I didn't notice any pain. I didn't have to hold back or anything like that. I'm just ready to go.”
That’s something that had to be great news for Auburn OC Rhett Lashlee, who watched his offense go off the rails late in the season with White, Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson all less than 100 percent.
Now with White throwing well and looking healthy once again, Lashlee said that brings back a dynamic to the offense they were really missing in his absence.
“Sean has practiced the entire bowl prep,” Lashlee said. “I think he’s looking pretty good. He’s had a couple good days the last few days. There’s no question we were playing well in the middle of the year when he had pretty good balance offensively.
“We were very efficient throwing the football, I think. Right before he got hurt, Sean was leading the league in efficiency rating, completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception ratio, yards per completion—a lot of good categories.
“He got hurt, and the whole last couple of games we were very poor in the passing game. So that’s something we’re going to have to do well in a couple of days—just keep the balance that allowed us to be successful when we were playing well.”
White throws a pass in New Orleans
A competitor that wanted nothing more than to be on the field with his teammates, White admitted that got the best of him when he was injured early in the Georgia game. Now that he’s healthy he said that he’s got to be careful to not let his emotions get the best of him again and just let the game come to him.
“That’s something you have to watch out for as a quarterback because it’s a little bit different,” White said of being too pumped up to play. “As a linebacker, you can get all amped up and get ready to hit but as a quarterback you have to remain calm. You want to be excited but you always have to realize that you need to be steady force in the offense.”
Even with the work that Pettway and Johnson did on the ground this season, in the end it was White that was the key for the Tigers with his ability to mix in the passing game. That’s something he’s ready to deliver once again and he’s excited to do it with a healthy shoulder.
“It's difficult,” he said of being banged up during the season. “Obviously, it's your throwing shoulder so it makes things a little tougher. At the same time I felt like I could be out there playing. That's in the past. It didn't really work out towards the end of the season. I missed a couple of games but I'm ready to go now and that's all I'm focused on.
“It feels really good, really good,” he added. “It’s a lot tougher to play when you aren’t 100 percent obviously or close to it. I feel like now I’m healthy, I’m excited to just go out there and play.”