White has some unfinished business

Oklahoma quarterback Jason White, who added the Johnny Unitas Award to his endless mantle of individual awards on Thursday, has his mind on Saturday's Big 12 Championship game and nothing else. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

By the time Jason White settled into the swirling aftermath of Oklahoma's 35-0 victory over Baylor, his mind had already moved on to other things. Surrounded by a sea of reporters and fans, the senior quarterback quietly answered every question and talked extensively about the Sooners' most recent triumph.

But it was all done via auto pilot.

White had already turned his focus to some unfinished business in Kansas City. The look in his eyes told the only story anyone really needed to know.

Forget the fact he had no idea who his team would be playing in the Dec. 4 showdown — that was of no concern. The only thing that would matter over the course of the next two weeks was making absolutely certain the Sooners were zeroed in on winning the Big 12 title game.

Individually, White has nothing left to prove. He's already won a Heisman Trophy, rewritten the OU record book on passing and earned the respect of everyone and anyone who matters. But he would like to complete the final chapter of his Sooner career with two things that eluded he and his teammates last season — a pair of championships.

"It was a bad feeling. You work so hard all season, you go through the regular season like we did and then you don't show up when it counts," said White, reliving his less-than-memorable performance in OU's 35-7 loss to Kansas State last season at Kansas City. "You never wanted to have that feeling again, but it happened again (against LSU). It was very disappointing.

"But those feelings are over with and that stuff is all behind us. This is a different season and a different team."

When the second-ranked Sooners face off against Colorado this weekend, not only will the Big 12 championship be on the line, but so will another shot at the national title. White, however, refuses to look past the first goal, promising nothing will be taken for granted when it comes to playing the Buffs.

"All we're thinking about is Kansas City. Nothing else right now," said the sixth-year senior. "I want to win a Big 12 championship. That's one of the main reasons I came back to play another year. It's not the sole reason, but it's a big reason."

On his way to winning the Heisman Trophy a year ago, White led the Sooners to a 34-20 victory over Colorado in Boulder. He threw for three touchdowns that night, including a 59-yarder to Mark Clayton to seal the win with under two minutes left.

And with a rematch of the 2002 Big 12 Championship Game looming, the Buffs should expect to see a more savvy, more determined White. There will be pressure, but nothing the veteran QB can't handle.

"Jason is one of those guys, who week in and week out, challenges himself to do more, do better and do whatever he needs to do to be successful," said starting lineman Davin Joseph. "We feed off of Jason's confidence — the O-line blocks good and the receivers are out there running all over the place. Jason has nothing to prove. He's just out there having fun, loving every minute of it."

But is there something that drives him?

"Maybe he didn't play his best at the end of last season, and there were some reasons for that. But I think he's way over that," added Joseph. "His whole focus is on having fun and winning championships. That's what drives him."

White will no doubt be one of the invitees to New York City for next week's Heisman ceremony. He's put up the kind of numbers that are certainly Heisman worthy. But the Tuttle, Okla., native has said all along he'd gladly trade a chance at defending his individual statuette for team riches — mainly a national championship.

The next step in that direction comes Saturday against Colorado. Look for a masterful effort from White, who is determined to craft a perfect ending what has been a perfect 11-0 ride so far in 2004.

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