NORMAN, Okla. – After suffering and recovering from knee injuries over each of the last two seasons, Jason White is finally ready to get back in the saddle again.
Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops announced Thursday that White will be OU's No. 1 quarterback when two-a-days begin on August 1. Thus, it appears that White's road to a recovery is well on its way to being a successful one.
James Hale had a chance to talk with OU's new No. 1 QB this morning after the Sooners' morning seven-on-seven offseason session.
James Hale: Jason, here you are on the verge of coming back from your second knee surgery. It's obvious you have an undeniable will to succeed. Where does that come from?
Jason White: "I think it comes from when I was younger the way I was brought up by my parents, and it didn't help that my sister was just as good of an athlete as anybody. Just growing up, everytime we competed against each other she would always win.
"My dad just told me to ‘keep going and going', and finally one day when I was a freshmen in high school I finally outran here for the first time. And then I started beating her in basketball. I still couldn't hit her pitching.
"I think it just comes from growing up and having my mom and dad my mom and dad tell me to keep going, keep trying, and it just kind of carried over until now."
JH: How does that attitude project into a football game or onto a football field?
JW: "If you're down in the game, by 14 or something, you just have to keep going and pushing your teammates. As far as football, it's like these injuries that i've had. Just because I've had injuries doesn't mean I can't come back and play."
JH: Your competitive spirit had to help you when you were rehabbing. You were almost competing against yourself weren't you?
JW: "That's the thing about rehab, it really comes from inside. You've got to push yourself and know your limitations. That's another thing I learned from the first knee injury. I learned what I could do and what I couldn't do. This time was easier because I knew how much I could push myself each week."
JH: You've played with a such reckless abandon in the past. Is this going to be a process where you have to feel your way through as you go in the games?
JW: "No, that's what summer workouts are for. I cut more in summer than I probably do in a game. That's where I get all my confidence back, is in the summer. When it's not hurting after the all the work I've done in the summer, that's what will really boost my confidence. As far as cutting come gametime, I don't think it's going to have any effect on me."
JH: So, the summer workouts are going pretty well for you?
JW: "They're going great. I'm doing just about everything that I'm allowed to do. Pass skels are going great. So far so good."
JH: Will you be able to do everything the other quarterbacks are doing when two-a-days begin?
JW: "I won't have any limitations come two-a-days. I'll do every practice and scrimmage from here on out."
JH: Do you think the fact that you you couldn't do everything the other QB's did during spring ball changed your leadership or focus?
JW: "No, I think even when I wasn't starting some of the guys still looked at me as a leader. I really got to work on those leadership skills last year when I was hurt. I wasn't playing, but I still tried to get the guys to get it going sometimes. I don't think it gives you that much of a boost just because you're a starter. I think you can be a leader even if you're third or fourth string."
JH: Talk about the fact that you were still around helping the team, and even kept your team captain status even though you were injured.
JW: "It's hard not be out there helping out when you're hurt. I don't know many goes who wouldn't want to be outside and on the sidelines during a game. That's just the competitive side of an athlete."
JH: I know you're not going to tell me who is out there dropping balls all over the place, but who is looking good and stepping up in the seven-on-seven drills?
JW: "Everybody (laughs). Our receiving corp, they show up early everyday, and that's impressive. Their routes are awesome. Actually, they haven't been dropping that many balls. It's kind of tough going up against our defense everyday, but that's just going to make the receivers that much better."
JH: How does the defense look?
JW: "Well, what do you think (laughs)?"
JH: I wouldn't want to play against them.
JW: "They look good. Without even the front four, it's hard to get open against those guys."
JH: You lose Antwone Savage, Curtis Fagan and Trent Smith — three guys you really counted on. But this receiving corp looks even more talented and physical.
JW: "When you're in the huddle during the seven-on-seven you noticed these guys are athletes. They're all built and strong. We lost a lot of great athletes in ‘Twone, Curtis and Trent, but I think these guys are going to step up and fill in for them."
JH: Talk about the tweaks being made to the offense – going more vertical, tight end not just on one side, more formations, more motion. How is that going to help you?
JW: "It's going to help out a bunch. Just going through spring you could see a big difference, and the defense didn't know what was coming. We kind of switched some things up, but it will help out in the running game and getting the defense off-balanced."
JH: What is your goal from this point until two-a-days start? In other words, what do you have to do physically and as a team to be ready?
JW: "So far we've been doing a great job this summer coming up here and working with Coach (Jerry) Schmidt. Everybody comes up on their own and works out. If everybody just keeps the same attitude they have now and through the summer, we'll benefit from two-a-days."
JH: What do you think about some of the things you're hearing from the preseason magazines?
JW: "I don't really get into reading all that stuff. Coach Stoops said something one time that really stuck in my head. He said, "How are they going to rate us when we haven't played a game?' That's the way I look at it. At the end of the season, when that comes out and we're No. 1 or No. 2, then I'll look at it. There's no point now — you haven't played a game yet."
White says he's ready to go
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