Coach Speak: David Whitmore

Coach Ronnie Thompson has been on the Port Arthur (Texas) Memorial sidelines for a long time. David Whitmore, to him, has "it". Whatever "it" is, he can't explain. It's kind of like what Eric Metcalf had when he was playing for Coach Thompson years ago. Coach Thompson had a lot to say about David, how things are these days for teenagers and how well Nebraska recruited David.

The chance to coach David Whitmore has had its perks for Coach Ronnie Thompson. It's also shown an evolution of offenses from year to year as they chose to pick on the junior one year won't go after the senior the next year.

"It was very, very rewarding to coach, David," Head Coach Ronnie Thompson said. "Last year, everyone threw towards David who was a junior who was opposite a senior. The senior was recruited by everyone.

"So, everyone started testing David and we felt pretty good about that. David had a heck of a junior year, but as a senior they wouldn't throw near him. They just wouldn't do it.

"We got a junior that moved in from Virginia was just a great, great kid as a junior. It's the way it goes, if you don't want to throw at our good one then throw at our new one and see what he's got.

"David had an exceptional year as a junior and really held his ground as a senior, but no one really threw at him as much. They knew about him and they threw away from him so that's where we had our next good one (cornerback). Right now we're looking for that next good one."

What David has going for him it tough to explain, but Coach Thompson knows what it is because he saw it another player that he coached before. It's in the blood. It's the child of a father who was also a great player. It's genetic.

"It's his father, you have to understand it. I coached Eric Metcalf and he did some special things. In high school, we'd watch film and he'd ask me to run the film back. I'd ask him what he was looking at and he'd say ‘Never mind.'

"Then that weekend he'd make a terrific run and I'd ask him how he did it. He said that it was in the genes. He said that he just knew these things about the game.

"So, if you just look at Whitmore's dad, it's just in the genes. If I had played in the NFL, I could tell you all about it. I could tell you about a Super Bowl ring, this, that and the other thing, but I can't do that. They can.

"It's just instincts. It's quickness. It's born in them. There is a certain time that it comes out and shines. Lot of times, you don't need it all the time and they don't need to break it out and shine."

When you think about high school players elevating their game to college some high school coaches think about gaining size, some speed or just the speed of the game. Coach Thompson thinks about what players these days have to go through leading up to going to college.

"It's like any kid coming out of high school together. It gets tougher and tougher and it's called growing up. We tell them what to do; we tell them this and we tell them that and they don't really have a chance to be kids which is a missing spoke in the wheel.

"Then they go to a higher level and a higher level and next thing you know they do something that you never thought that they were capable of doing and all they are really doing is trying to be kids.

"Kids are trying to understand, they are trying to relate. The game has so much pressure on it and so many people involved in it and that can cut it. You miss out on part of your life in being young.

"Of course, being young these days is a very dangerous time to be young. It's not like the old days with Ozzie and Harriet, it's pretty brutal. The bar goes higher and the weight gets more and more and this is what you get then that is the outcome.

"It's just about being young. They miss that opportunity. They aren't given that opportunity. There is too much stress. There are academics to worry about. There is this state testing to worry about. They just can't be kids anymore and some kids, what they get into, is pretty deadly.

"David has done well though. He has grown up, he's a good kid, he's trying to do the right things, he has a smile on his face and he's going to a great school. For people like that, you have to feel good for. All the votes aren't in, but he's headed where he needs to be."

Coach Ronnie Thompson sees a lot of Tom Osborne in a Texas legend, an Alabama legend and an Oklahoma legend. They are alike in many ways, but Tom Osborne is still got something different about him.

"If Texas weren't doing very good and a guy like Darryl Royal comes back to the school and he comes in to recruit you; the whole world levels out. That's what Tom Osborne means to that school and college football."

"He's an unbelievable human being, always has been. He's down to Earth and a really nice guy. He does things a certain way that produces a certain product. He's super. He's not Darryl. He's not the Bear. He's not Barry. He's Tom.

"He's like them all, but he's different. A guy like that can really command your attention. The guys that he's going to hire to work for him are going to command your attention. This is definitely a winning situation. Bo coming back in there for Nebraska is really a winning situation."

The coaching staff that Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini have hired has had an air about them. Coach Thompson likens them to a famous war general and the brigade that he commanded. They really elevated the recruiting process for Whitmore and Nebraska.

"It's just about like George S. Patton leading the 3rd Army. It makes all the difference in the world. It was getting back in it with David, re-recruiting him and taking it to the next level. They were world-class. Don't ask me how they do it."

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