Looking To Lead

In his two years at the helm of West Virginia's offense, quarterback Patrick White has accomplished more than many players do in an entire career.

With two years under his belt, White has accounted for 4,382 total yards and 43 touchdowns. This past season alone, White amassed 2,602 combined passing and rushing yards, with 28 touchdowns. Those 2006 numbers were good enough to earn White the Big East Offensive Player of the Year from the league's coaches.

Perhaps his best best game of the season came in West Virginia's Gator Bowl victory over Georgia Tech. White, playing without the luxury of All-American running back Steve Slaton by his side, ran for 145 yards and a touchdown. He also threw for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns on his way to being named Gator Bowl MVP.

While his rushing and passing statistics are gaudy, the ultimate mark of any quarterback or star player is how much he wins. In that category, White has been almost perfect. He holds a 16-2 record in his 18 collegiate starts, including a perfect 2-0 record in bowl games.

Having accomplished so much in so little time, one could certainly understand if White were to rest on his laurels. Looking forward to 2007, the quarterback knows that there is plenty of work left for him to do. While kickoff for the season opener is still more than seven months away, Pat is already setting out his goals for next season. One specific goal he has is to be more of a leader.

"I'm a year older, so I have to (be more of a leader)," he said. "If I don't, then I didn't better myself as a player."

White and several of his teammates were honored at halftime of Wednesday night's home basketball game against the University of South Florida. The more than 8,000 Mountaineer fans in attendance gave the football team a standing ovation, which was the perfect way for the Gator Bowl champs to begin the offseason.

"It's another great feeling," White said of the halftime ceremony. "Another great ending to another great season. We're just looking forward to next year."

Students have been back on campus since January 8, and offseason workouts for the football team began this past week. White says that everything has gone fine thus far in preparation for spring drills, which begin in March.

"I think that we're really focused," he said. "We've had two great days of workouts. Everyone's looking strong and healthy. We have one important back out, Steve Slaton (who will miss workouts and spring ball while recovering from surgery on his right wrist), but he's doing what he can with his body. We'll be ready to go."

White has noticed one big intangible that has stood out so far during workouts: a good, healthy attitude from the entire team.

"Everybody's excited about getting back into the swing of things. Mike Barwis and everyone is hard at work, and that's a great thing."

As for his own personal health, the soon-to-be junior says he's fully recovered from a variety of injuries that he had before and during the Gator Bowl. White entered the game with a tender ankle, and also suffered injuries to his hand and neck during the 38-35 comeback victory over the ACC runner-up.

"I feel a hundred times better," he said. "I was really hurtin' after that game. Now, I feel completely fine. The whole left side, everything was hurtin' bad."

Now that he's healed, White and his teammates will work towards next season with the ultimate goal of winning it all in mind.

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