Oklahoma's White in Select Company

<b>Kansas City, MO --</b> It's rare that a Heisman Trophy winner has returned to school and the gridiron the year after winning college football's top prize. It's also not commonplace for someone to want to play a sixth year after enduring the rigors of playing at a high level. But quarterback Jason White, who rallied from two knee surgeries to win the Heisman last fall, is preparing himself for another season at Oklahoma.

Just how much has life changed for White? The sixth-year quarterback traveled to Kansas City along with teammate Dan Cody and head coach Bob Stoops for Big 12 media days.

"I think the biggest change in my life has been the banquets and what you have to go," said White, who passed for 3,846 yards and 40 touchdowns in what was supposed to be his senior year in 2003. "It's great to be a part of that fraternity. It changes your life. As a player, until you're done playing college football or professional football, you're not really going to know how much it means."

And by returning for training camp, White will be able to hold of the reflection period for one more year. But the decision was not always seen as an easy one. After evaluating all of his options, White opted to remain in school and spurn any professional opportunities for at least one more year.

"Coach Stoops did all he could to give me the information I needed," White said. "I got to thinking about it and not many people get the chance to play six years of college football. It's not a job and you don't get fined for things, so why not stick around?" You can't beat the camaraderie of a football team."

Added Stoops, "I wouldn't say we ‘re-recruited' him, but we sat down in his home. I wanted him to know some of the positives and negatives. That's kind of what I do with juniors or guys that might come out. I do my best to make sure they have all of the information. (Age) is a part of it. I see some of these baseball guys coming out. Jason has been with a lot of these seniors, so he has a strong relationship with them. There is a lot of maturity on this team that he relates to."

Is the secret out?

If one thing is a certainty heading into this Big 12 football campaign, it's that every team on Oklahoma's schedule will be breaking down the Sooners' 2003 games against Kansas State and LSU. After owning the top spot in the national polls heading into the postseason, OU fell in the Big 12 and national championship games.

After being so dominant in every facet during a 12-0 start, the Sooners all of a sudden lost their magic on a national stage.

Stoops faced the question on Tuesday on whether or not K-State had provided the blueprint for beating Oklahoma.

"If you can do what they do and beat us, do it," Stoops said. "But there isn't one special plan that works for everybody. In the end they did a good job. I give them all the credit. But we have some things we can do better. Hopefully we can tackle better than we did. On offense we got a little more predictable."

Bo Pelini vs. Mike Stoops

Prior to the end of the 2003 season, Stoops lost his brother Mike, who accepted the head coaching job at Arizona. Former Nebraska assistant coach Bo Pelini now takes on a similar role in Norman where he will act as the co-defensive coordinator alongside Brent Venables.

While he said his brother's loss was a big one, Stoops believes he was able to get one of the best defensive coaches in the business with Pelini.

"I'm not going to ever downplay the impact my brother had on this program," Stoops said. "But all of us have some influence on it. Bo comes in with a great deal of experience. Bo's great experience replaced Mike's great experience. Bo, Mike and Brent have shared information the last several years, so there has been a lot of communication. There are some different wrinkles in what we're doing that fit us well. It won't be noticeably different, but there will be some differences."


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