White has coach's confidence

Junior receiver became part of passing game in 2004, could start next season

TAMPA, Fla. — Brandon White's hard work could pay off in a starting role next season. In fact, the 6-foot-3, 186-pound junior receiver has played well enough to be a starter this season.

"I wouldn't have any problem starting him now," receivers coach Henry Mason said. "No. 1, he knows the offense. He moves around the formation and he can play numerous positions. He's smart. He competes. If that's the guy that we had starting right now, I wouldn't have a problem with it."

White has quietly had a career year. OK, perhaps the junior receiver's 17 catches and 171 receiving yards were not exactly school records, but they far surpassed the three receptions for 24 yards he had in his first two seasons combined.

White, a Palm Beach, Fla. native, played often as a true freshman and sophomore but as a blocking receiver and on special teams.

"Obviously you think you are going to do a lot more but right now if I had it do all over again I wouldn't change anything," White said of his first two campaigns. "I learned so much from Lee [Evans], when I had to sit behind Lee those years and I learned from the guys around."

After excellent spring workouts and a solid fall camp, however, White worked his way into the Badgers' four receiver rotation, eventually becoming the team's No. 3 receiver.

"He came in and did exactly what we needed for him to do," Mason said. "He's a nice, solid player. He made a few plays for us. Basically, you had to cover him."

White caught passes in eight games this season and goes into Saturday's Outback Bowl matchup with Georgia with a three-game reception streak. He had a four-game streak earlier this season.

"You couldn't leave the guy standing there or he was going to hurt you," Mason said. "More times than not, when we threw it to him, he caught it."

White's best receiving totals came in Wisconsin's last two games. He set career highs with three catches for 32 yards at Michigan State, then bested both of those tallies with a four reception, 42-yard performance at Iowa.

"I'm just trying to have fun," White said. "I've been getting the ball a lot more the last couple games and the coaches, they actually been calling the play towards my way."

Of Wisconsin's top four receivers this season only one, starter Darrin Charles, is a senior. The other three—White, starter Brandon Williams and Jonathan Orr—will be seniors in the fall. White and Orr will compete for the open starter's role next season.

"Obviously, he's going to move up at least one spot in the rotation," Mason said. "He's been playing the third wide receiver pretty much most of the year. If he can make the same jump that he made from his sophomore year to his junior year, if he does that from his junior year to his senior year, he'll end up being a pretty good receiver."

"I wouldn't change anything," White said. "I just think my time is coming. I just keep waiting and it will slowly turn around."

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