Emerging Personality

A couple of seasons ago, getting anything more than a short answer out of West Virginia quarterback Patrick White was like drawing an honest answer from a politician. The WVU signalcaller rationed his words carefully, never giving more than a short sentence in response. This year, however, a different White has emerged. So, which one is the reflection of his true personality?

"I guess I was just shy at first," White said after completing the first day of fall football camp. "I'm always shy when you first meet me. But I think I have opened up a little bit."

While White still isn't boisterous in interview settings, glimpses of his sly humor and playful nature have emerged over the past few months. A brief ESPN feature on his trip to Rhode Island (along with backfield mate Steve Slaton) for the Big East's media day offered a few examples of his actual demeanor, as did the now famous "meow" video of him on the sidelines during the Pitt game last year. Those, along with his more relaxed answers in recent media sessions, point to a more relaxed White, which allow his wit and friendliness to come to the fore.

Take, for example, his follow-up to the above quote. After answering the question, he joked, with a perfect deadpan delivery, "You all don't scare me any more." He also added, after a quick glance at longtime WVU scribe Mickey Furfari, "But Mickey never scared me."

Without reading too much into his comments, (and acknowledging the fact that the media horde is about as scary as a bunny grazing on a patch of clover) it is apparent that White is more comfortable in the spotlight that always shines on the quarterback position. Add in his excellence at the spot, and the attention rises exponentially, meaning even more demands on his time from reporters. It's something that every QB has to learn to deal with, and it is a sometimes fascinating process to watch. Former WVU quarterback Rasheed Marshall traveled much the same path, growing from a reticent interview into one of the team's best speakers. And while White isn't going to be the second coming of quote machine Pat McAfee, it's clear that we are all getting at least a glimpse of what his teammates, friends and family see – a confident, humorous college student who his having a great deal of fun.

White even joked about missing out on conditioning and testing following the first day of camp. Including backfield mate Slaton, he said, "We didn't even run today. I guess you could call us wusses." Coming on the heels of a Gator Bowl performance in which he carried the team to victory despite more than one injury, "wuss" would likely be the last word anyone would use to describe him. However, he quickly turned aside any talk of a ‘single-handed' victory.

"No, no, not single-handedly," he said of that characterization with emphatic shakes of his head. "It takes 11. I have a family full of hard workers, and they never gave up or gave in. Maybe that's part of it."

Such statements from some may sound disingenuous, but coming from White they ring true. He is the sort of athlete that plays and works his hardest, and truly doesn't appear to be concerned with individual statistics. It's all about winning for White, whose mood drops precipitously in those rare instances when West Virginia loses a game. It's not surliness or anger, just a natural reaction from a player who does everything possible to help his team come out on top of the scoreboard.

Most of the time, however, the college student in him comes out. From some well-timed dance moves to the pre-practice music played in the stadium to his sly answer of "we have some things up our sleeves", when asked about offensive changes, it's clear that West Virginia's Heisman candidate quarterback is enjoying each and every moment. Making it even better is the fact that the rest of us are seeing that, and sharing a bit of the ride with him.

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