Meaningful Start Expected for White

While it won't be the first start of his career, senior tailback James White acknowledged Monday that getting the expected start in the season opener this Saturday has special meaning for him and his family.

MADISON - For the first time in his brief tenure as a head coach at the University of Wisconsin, Gary Andersen released a full depth chart, but admitted the names on the paper would be fluid throughout the course of the season.

Andersen listed four positions on offense with an "OR" distinction, meaning the Wisconsin coaching staff was still sifting through options before Saturday's regular season opener against Massachusetts.

One position that didn't have that label was the tailback, a huge means of excited for senior James White.

"It will mean a lot," he said Monday. "It's an opportunity I've been waiting for for a long time. I am ready to do whatever I can to help this team."

White has started two games in his career, both last season, but neither of which he truly classified as starts because of his brief time on the field and not getting many true carries from the running back position.

Maybe that's why Saturday is going to mean a lot for White. Knowing a starting opportunity was going to be open with Montee Ball graduating, White spent the offseason building up his strength, conditioning and stamina to handle the brunt of the work this season.

"I worked really hard," said White. "I've always trained myself to be the starter because you never know when you're going to get this opportunity. I felt like I have prepared for this moment."

Playing primarily behind Ball the last two seasons, White has still found a way to make an impact. White enters the year as the second-leading rusher among active FBS running backs, totally 2,571 career yards. He also holds Wisconsin's school record of 6.1 yards per carry over his career, also the best among all FBS tailbacks. And while Melvin Gordon has got a lot of recognition coming off his Big Ten championship game performance last December and will get plenty of carries, Andersen says the team has a respect for White's work ethic. "James has done so much," Andersen said. "I would bet you if you sat down James and Melvin side by side and Melvin wouldn't want that "or" next to his name, because he knows what James has done and how hard he's worked to get this opportunity.

"They're both going to get a ton of reps. We have running back A and B or running back one and one, however you want to put it. They'll be effective in the offense and be a big part of the offense and both have big play capability."

The moment will mean a lot to his family, as his parents, Tyrone and Lisa, have traveled to virtually every one of White's games, home or away, since he enrolled at Wisconsin.

"I've been extremely blessed," said White. "A lot of guys don't get their parents to come up to any games. I am really thankful for that and I know they are excited to come watch me play. I am going to try to make them proud."

Badger Nation Top Stories