Freshman Progression

A quarterback with the last name of White had quite the practice earlier this week according to his position coach. That might not sound surprising at first, until you learn which White it was.

While players such as Pat White, Noel Devine, Mortty Ivy and Dorrell Jalloh have been making plays on the field during games this season, dozens of other Mountaineers have had their efforts constrained to the practice field as members of the scout team.

Week in and week out, the scout team – made up predominantly of walk-ons and redshirts and coached by the graduate assistants – give West Virginia's travel squad a look at the opposing team's plays and formations.

While his older brother has been leading the Mountaineers on the field at quarterback, true freshman Coley White has been doing the same for the scout team offense. Though part of him undoubtedly wishes he could be on the field in front of 60,000 fans on Saturday afternoons, White has made the most of his time in practice this season.

"Yeah, it's been fun," White said this week as the Mountaineers prepared for Louisville. "It's been a great learning experience, just learning the game, the plays, getting physically ready and mentally ready. I'm learning everything that I possibly can from (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff) Mullen and the other quarterbacks on the team who are in front of me."

Although Mullen spends a majority of his practice time with the elder White, backup Jarrett Brown and the rest of West Virginia's varsity offense, the first-year offensive coordinator does get a chance to spend some time with Coley at the beginning of each practice when the Mountaineers break off into individual position groups for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

In these brief but productive moments, Mullen offers coaching on virtually every aspect of individual quarterback play. It might not seem like much right now, but those 10 to 30 minutes of practice time each day allow Mullen to build a base for White to work from. And when the Daphne, Ala. native takes the field for spring drills in March, he will at the very least have a working knowledge of the fundamentals Mullen expects from his quarterbacks.

"That's when I spend time with just him," Mullen explained. "Pat's right. Pat's throwing mechanics are where they need to be, so I go work with the young guys. Then they go over to scout team and get what they're doing schematically each week, and you can work with him a little bit there too if you see something mechanically or otherwise."

"It's helping me," White said without a hint of hesitation. "It's helping me a lot. I've been learning a lot from individual work and everything else too."

In Tuesday afternoon's practice at the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility, all of the individual time that White has spent with Mullen paid off as everything came together for the rookie. White had what was perhaps his best practice since joining the team over the summer.

"Today, the light came on in terms of some of the throwing mechanics that we've been working with him on for several months," Mullen beamed. "He had a really good day throwing the football. That was something that was exciting for all of us."

So exciting, in fact, that the younger sibling of arguably the greatest player to ever suit up for the Mountaineers kept his older brother on the sidelines during one drill.

"We were in the middle of a drill," Mullen recalled. "Normally on the field we take turns. So, Pat stepped in to take a turn and I told him to let the kid go because he was on fire. It was like throwing a no-hitter. He had a really good day, I am really looking forward to working with him in the spring."

"It felt good," White admitted. "It felt like I'm progressing, which was good. That's what I want to do is learn and get better every day in practice."

If he can do that, then there just may come a time over the next few years when he's the one going against the scout team.

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