Wrist Healed, White Wants a Shot

The most heated competition of fall camp may be for the No. 2 quarterback spot. Sophomore Brian White is coming off a wrist injury that kept him out of spring drills. He's working hard to prove to his coaches and teammates he deserves to be in the race for first off the bench in case starter Joel Klatt goes down.

In mid-February, 6-5, 225-pound quarterback Brian White was in the weightroom spotting a teammate, who was racking the bar he was lifting. When the teammate failed to get the bar to the rack, White grabbed it.

"I went to jerk it up and it popped my tendon," he said after Saturday's practice.

Three weeks later he had surgery to repair the tendon on his right — throwing — wrist.

White, from Mission Viejo, Calif., was not allowed to throw until May. That meant he could participate in some drills in spring practices, but most of the time, he watched. However, White, a third-year sophomore, turned it into a learning experience.

"Being a competitor it's tough to sit back and not be able to play," he said about the spring. "But it was good because I was able to watch and take mental reps and really progress mentally in the game."

He watched his teammates go through their quarterback reads, and went through them himself on the sidelines.

White gradually got back his throwing rhythm over the summer, as he took part in player-led 7-on-7 drills. He's wearing tape around his wrist in camp this month, but says he's very close to 100 percent, and only feels pain on occasion.

"My biggest goal out here right now is to show my teammates and my coaches that my wrist is healed so I can compete for a job," he said.

His position coach, Shawn Watson, noted that throwing over the summer, and throwing during camp when the defense is flying around are different things.

"He's rusty. That's to be expected," Watson said. "But in individual drills you can see the talent's all there. He's just rusty. He's got to knock all that off."

White had better knock off the rust quickly. Perhaps the most heated competition in camp is for the No. 2 quarterback spot. After starter Joel Klatt, James Cox, Bernard Jackson and Brian White are in a battle.

Cox, a junior, has the most experience in the offense. Jackson, a sophomore, can do things with his feet the other quarterbacks can't. More and more observers think White has the biggest amount of talent among the signal-callers.

For as big as he is, White moves well. When at full strength, he may throw the best mid-range and deep ball of the group. The strength in his hand is not completely back, and Watson said that needs to continue to develop. But White had one of the better passes of the day Saturday, hitting receiver Nick Holz in stride on a 35-yard post pattern.

Asked about that throw, White said, "That was one of the things I really wanted to get a feel for late in the summer and coming out here now — throwing deep routes with full velocity. It gives me confidence to step into my throws and really let ‘em go."

On the surface, it appears White, Cox and Jackson get along well, despite being in heated competition.

"We're all mature enough to where we can compete on the field and still have a relationship off the field," White said. "That's one of the qualities that makes our group so tight knit. We're friends off the field, but we know how to compete on the field.

"It's also a mutual respect for each other's games. We all respect what each other can do."

As August camp winds along, White hopes he can improve on what he can do.

"Each day I feel more and more confident out there as I get back in the flow of things," he said.

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