UW linebacker Scott White met with the media today for the first time since he walked away from the team after being demoted to No. 2 on the depth chart behind Dan Howell. He returned after a one day absence after being told that he would have to start from the bottom, meaning third on the depth chart and work on special teams. White agreed, worked his way up, and on Friday was told he would start the opener against San Jose State – not instead of Howell, but alongside Howell – with White moving to the position handled last season by Evan Benjamin.
White's story will be featured in the Thursday News Tribune, but here are some of the raw quotes from his interview.
(On learning he would start at a new positon) "I had to move my position so we could get the best three linebackers on the field at the same time. I had a pretty good camp, worked hard. I missed a little bit of time with a concussion, but then I came back and did everything the coaches asked me to do. I started off third string, I came back from my situation with the coaches and worked my way back to the top. That's what everybody told me: Just play. Don't worry about whatever happens, what people say, just play. And that's what I did."
(on his new position) "I'm better-suited for (this) position. At times last year I kind of disappeared at times. I was getting isolated. That's kind of the notion where I'd flash on and then go away for a while and people would wonder, 'What's going on with him?' It's a position now where I'm right in the middle of the action. Evan Benjamin the last two years had a lot of success at this position. (It calls for) a guy with good instincts and can run."
(on his commitment now) "I was always committed to the coaches, I just felt I needed to get things straight with myself. I don't think it was ever about the coaches or me against them. Like I (said) before, if I'm not going to be totally committed to this thing, then I don't know if I can do it. That was really the main thing. It was never me, 'OK, if I'm not starting I'm not going to be happy and I'm not going to play.' It was never that at all. It was me at a point where if I'm not going to be totally committed and be able to do everything the coaches ask me to do, then I'm going to do the right thing and not be a guy that's going to be a distraction or be a guy in the locker room who's going to be a distraction or something like that. That was it more than anything: me trying to get myself on the same page as these coaches. That was really the gist of it."
(On returning to the team) "I let coach Willingham and all the coaches know that I'm here to do everything that they ask me to do. They asked me to lead, they asked to play this position in there, they asked me to do a bunch of different things with the younger players. And I told him, 'I'm here for you.' And he told me I'm going to have every opportunity to be successful – just come in and work. That was the most important thing, they wanted me to work harder, be a leader, do all those types of little things. I don't think it was ever about my performance, it was about being positive, about being a better influence on the younger players and showing these guys how to play at a high level. They said, 'You're going to start at the bottom and if you can work your way up then you can work your way up, and I've done that.'"
(On the reception of his teammates) "For the most part everybody welcomed me with open arms. The coaches did a fantastic time letting me know I was welcome on the team, they were happy to have me on the team and they really needed me on the football team. The players, they were always (saying) 'Just hang in there, just get your mind right and be with us.' That was the most important thing to me, the players and the feeling in the locker room, there was no resentment or 'He turned his back on us' or anything. It was great for the most part. The guys welcomed me, the coaches welcomed me, and I think this brought me even closer to the players, moreso than ever."