Dwight White aiming for comeback

The hardest thing for Dwight White is to watch his old self on film.

The hardest part of Dwight White's offseason hasn't been remembering the deep passes he gave up last year. Physical workouts are the least of his troubles.

Rather, the hardest part for Dwight White is simply just watching himself on film. He looks nervous and lacks composure, he admits. He can't get caught looking like that again.

"I wouldn't say I'm more relaxed," White told PW Thursday. "I'd just say that I'm more comfortable with the position."

White was thrown into a tough position in August's opening game at Cal, when Daniel Jones tore his ACL before halftime. White was forced to take his first college reps against a self-described "Bear Raid offense," and the results were as expected.

The struggles of White were noted ever since, while the ascent of fellow freshman corner Matthew Harris left White's standing in the secondary in doubt. When Jones returns from surgery, White could find himself out of the primary rotation of corners.

Though he feels that he's turned a corner, starting with his first career interception at Nebraska last November, he knows that he still has much to prove. Still, he has no intention of conceding the starting role he once occupied alongside Nick VanHoose.

"I had a rough start, of course. But I'm definitely competing for a starting role," he said. "We have a lot of young DBs who all want to get on the field."

VanHoose and Harris are frontrunners for the starting jobs, but White's steady improvements, smaller frame and high school experience at safety make him a good candidate to cover slot receivers in three-wide sets.

We don't know what to expect from the rehabbing Jones, and we've yet to see promising freshmen Keith Watkins or Parrker Westphal in meaningful action. White says that playing in the nickel wouldn't change his mindset much, and if he can't secure a starting role by summer, the nickel would be the ideal start to rebuilding confidence.

"Every DB has bombs thrown on them," he says. "It's on me to keep my composure."

White and the secondary will be tested next fall. The Wildcats once again open their season against Cal, a year after the Golden Bears torched them for 445 passing yards. Jared Goff will have a full year of college ball under his belt this time.

But White, in need of redemption, will have a chance to separate himself this spring. He's looked sharp thus far, and in a restive secondary where opportunities arise without warning, White just has to stay ready. Film can't capture that.

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