Q&A: Catching up with Jason White

Oklahoma quarterback Jason White talks about graduating, not winning the Heisman Trophy and the Sooners' Orange Bowl matchup with USC. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

NORMAN — Jason White will close out his great career in the Orange Bowl on January 4th when he leads the second-ranked Sooners against top-ranked USC.

White won the Heisman Trophy in 2003, and despite playing better in 2004 finished third behind winner Matt Leinart of USC and freshman teammate Adrian Peterson.

No matter how the Sooners fare against USC, White will go down as one of the greatest players in Sooner history, and he has accomplished that is basically two years. In his sixth year at OU, White is finally healthy and for the first time in his career he is playing pain free.

White has always been gracious with this reporter during his career, and recently after a practice he stopped and chatted about a number of things with OUInsider.com.

JH: Congratulations on graduating. Now you have nothing but football to look forward too?

JW: "You know that we are really here to go to school?(laughs). No, really, that is one thing that I am happy with is that I graduated. I have my degree now and that is something that I am very proud of."

JH: Are you glad that all the award stuff is behind you now and you now you can concentrate totally on USC?

JW: "Yes. It gets tiring going to all these banquets and eating the same thing. It is exciting in a way, but it is also tiring. You are glad when it is over because you just want to get back and play football."

JH: Did you get chicken or roast beef at most of the banquets?

JW: "We got chicken and roast beef both, and I have had a steak or two. It was a good steak actually."

JH: I guess you never got a chicken fry did you?

JW: "I don't think people back East really know what a chicken fry is."

JH: You had more fun at this year's Heisman ceremony didn't you? You were much more relaxed?

JW: "Yeah, I was having a good time with it and I was more relaxed than I was last year. I didn't know what to expect last year. This year I had an idea what to expect and I spent most of my time trying to settle down AD a little bit. He was so stiff up there, but he did a great job with it and I had fun with it this year. I think it helps that you know that you are not going to win so you can relax a little more."

JH: Did you think that the politics were that much against you that you really had no chance to win?

JW: "No, I just think it was the way the season ended last year. The two players that finished ahead of me are great players. They drew great attention and they deserved what they got. It is to their advantage. They got a great award and it will be with them for a long time."

JH: What is ironic about your third place finish is that you had a better year this year than last, and that was one of the best years in college football. However, you had a better year this year, don't you agree?

JW: "I was more effective this year, especially when you think about our entire offense. I am just happy that we are setting 12-0 and going to the National Championship. That is what I came back for — that and the Big 12 Championship. That was really all I wanted was to win the Big 12 Championship and the National Championship."

JH: Because you are still playing did you get a chance to really get a feel what if feels like to be a Heisman Trophy winner? Or will you not really be able to enjoy being a Heisman Trophy winner until you graduate form OU?"

JW: "I think the only reason that I felt like a Heisman Trophy winner was because I knew what was happening. I knew what we were going to do next and what time I had to be where. I knew what was going on and that was the only reason that I felt that way. I didn't feel that way or didn't feel excited because I won it last year. I am sure when I go in years to come it is going to be fun for me. That is something that I am going to be proud of."

JH: You are such a team guy and you had to enjoy the fact that so many of your teammates were honored during that weekend? How neat of an experience was that?

JW: "It was way better than last year. We had a lot of guys that got awards last year, but we were just coming off a loss. We had to answer a hundred questions about that. This year we didn't have to answer negative questions, everything was positive. We didn't have to hear that we shouldn't be in the National Championship game or anything like that. We all know that we are going the National Championship game this year and there is no question that we belong there. The awards ceremony was a lot different for us this year just because of that fact."

JH: You are a competitor, so when you saw players from Southern Cal did you smile at them or talk to them at all? Was it just a walk on the beach?

JW: "It was just a walk on the beach. You respect them and respect what they are doing, and you are in the same shoes with them. We tried to be friends at the award ceremonies, but I am sure as we get closer to game time we will be going after each other. However, as soon as the game is over with it is going to be the same way it was in Orlando with everybody getting along."

JH: I thought my favorite quote from you at the Heisman ceremony was that one you were on stage you were mad you didn't win. When I read that I said to myself now that is the Jason White that I know.

JW: "That was me and that is how I felt. Once I got up there and I saw the trophy I wanted to win it. That is just me and how I am. If I am up for something I want to win it, and I will do everything that I can do to win it. But at that point there wasn't much that I couldn't go out and do. I am just a competitor and I wanted to win it. I was disappointed that I didn't win it. I kind of knew going in that I wasn't going to and I was just honored to go back. After last year's game against LSU, nobody thought I would be back."

JH: You said that you wouldn't vote for yourself, and I thought that was a very classy thing to do. I thought it was a great move to vote for AD, but anybody that knows you know that you are never going to vote for yourself.

JW: "Yeah, there is no way that I would vote for myself. I filled in the first two spots on the ballet and then I let a close friend of my do the third. I told him I didn't want to know who he voted for and that he didn't have to vote for me. I just couldn't decide on a third one. I knew who the top two were for me, and that is what I wanted to do."

JH: What are your early thoughts on Southern Cal?

JW: "Their defense is extremely fast and very talented, especially the front four. They match-up well with us. It is going to be a great game and a great challenge for our offense. We'll have to play well to win."

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