Pat White won't alter dream

Pat White of West Virginia University doesn't feel the need to show NFL scouts that he can play another position.

MOBILE, Ala. – Scott McKillop grew up in suburban Pittsburgh and attended the University of Pittsburgh, but that hasn't made him a gung ho fan of the Super Bowl-bound Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I was more into wrestling growing up," said Pitt's star linebacker. "But my girlfriend's a real big fan, so I've become more of a Steelers fan."

McKillop's girlfriend wasn't available for interviews, which was unfortunate since the only other big-time local player at the Senior Bowl, Pat White, grew up just outside of Mobile.

Did White's time in Morgantown turn the WVU quarterback into a Steelers fan?

"No," he said. "I already was a fan. I grew up a diehard Steelers fan. I grew up in Daphne (Ala.), but my father was a Steelers fan and he raised us to be Steelers fans, so it's a great year."

Yes, sir, it's a time for Steelers fans to smile. But White, who calls Rod Woodson his all-time favorite player, lost his smile when the name Antwaan Randle El was mentioned.

Randle El, of course, gave up his quarterback dream when he came to the Senior Bowl as a wide receiver. He still is one – a rich one. So, will White, who's very similar to Randle El coming into the draft, follow in his footsteps and try to play wide receiver this week?

"No," he said. "In my mind I'm a quarterback until they tell me I'm not."

White, of course, was a terrific quarterback at WVU. He quarterbacked the school to bowl wins over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and North Carolina, and was MVP of the last three. He threw for 6,049 yards and rushed for 4,480 – similar to Randle El, who threw for 7,469 yards and rushed for 3,895 yards at Indiana. But Randle El went to the Senior Bowl to play for the Steelers' staff as a wide receiver, and he was drafted in the second round to play that position. Randle El returned kicks and threw several passes for the Steelers, the most famous of which was a touchdown pass to Hines Ward in Super Bowl XL. But the key to the equation is that he volunteered to show coaches he could play another position. Pat White has not, nor does he intend to.

"He's made it known that he'd like to be given a shot to play quarterback," said South coach Jack DelRio. "I think we acknowledge and recognize he's got some skill with the ball in his hand, but people are going to want to see him as a slot receiver or some other position."

DelRio, though, won't force the issue.

"We want to do what Pat wants to do," he said. "He's here as a quarterback. He's our third quarterback, or one of three quarterbacks, and he's going to play quarterback in the game. But he may – depending on how the week goes and how we finish up our preparation – he may take some snaps at another spot."

Through three days of practice, White has played nothing but quarterback, and he hasn't impressed. While scouts admit that at 6-feet, he's two inches taller than Randle El, most feel Randle El was a better passer, and maybe even a better athlete. Both are shifty, and White's expected to run the same 4.5 40 at the combine that Randle El ran. "But I think Randle El's better with the ball," one scout said.

With the prevalence of the "Wildcat" formation and the expansion of the college-based spread option offense, White has more opportunities to shift to quarterback for a play or even a series in spots, but that's not in his plans.

"There are more options, more opportunities for that," he said. "But my mind right now is focused on being a quarterback."

"He wants to follow his dream first," said DelRio. "He's got a unique ability with the ball in his hands. Now, whether he ends up being a guy who gets to distribute the ball, like he did in college, or whether he needs to play another position, that'll be determined."

Hopefully, for White's sake, it won't be determined too late in the process.


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