August 17, 2010

White making a name early in camp

MADISON - James White entered the UW program during the summer as one of the more lauded recruits in the 2010 Wisconsin class. Now, with eight days of fall camp in the books, it seems as though White is backing up all the hype with his play on the field.

During Sunday's media day festivities, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the Florida running back. The following is a question and answer with White.

Well, with one week in the books, how did it go? It sounds like you made a name for yourself Saturday.

White: It's been real fun. It's been a great experience. I'm just trying to learn the offense and learn from John Clay, Montee Ball, Zach Brown and the rest of the running back core. I'm just taking it all in so I can get better each day.

I understand you've been here for most of the summer and you've known those guys for a few months now. What have they really taught you now that you're on the field, especially the Clay's and Ball's of the world?

White: They teach me everything. I may do something and I may make a mistake. But when I get to the sideline they teach me things that help me correct if there are things I've done wrong. Next time I can get out there and I can do what I do at full speed. Even if I'm going to make a mistake I'm going to do it at full speed so it doesn't show up as bad on film. They teach me a lot.

How did the first summer in the weight program go for you?

White: That was an experience. It's definitely a lot different than high school. I really had to get my mindset right and focus. You can't just go in there and be lazy. You really have to be focused because he's going to get it all out of you. Coach Ben Herbert is really going to pull it out of you. So you've just got to go out there and work hard.

Did you add weight at all?

White: No. I haven't added weight. I'll probably have a problem with that. I'm probably going to have to eat more and things like that. So I'm going to try to add weight over these next few years.

What are you currently at?

White: I'm at 198 pounds.

What do you ideally want to get to?

White:Probably around 210 or 215, something like that.

How fast are you? Have you been clocked recently?

White: No, we haven't run 40's or anything so I'm not sure exactly how fast I am. I'll probably say I'm more quick than I am fast. It may look like I'm fast at some points….I guess I have a little bit of speed, too.

Do you think you're catching some of these guys off guard? They have so many bruisers with Brown, Ball and Clay then you get you coming in as a shiftier guy. It's a different style.

White: I'll probably be more of a change of pace back who's a little different than Zach or stuff like that. Zach is probably more like me and a mix between Ball and Clay. (Inaudible)

Did you see that opening during the recruiting process. The idea that these guys have a bunch of bruisers, maybe they can use a change of pace back. What led to your decision, I guess?

White: I kind of saw that. I'm kind of a different back than those two and I see that they're great backs. I just see that Wisconsin is going to produce great running backs and I just want to be a part of that great tradition.

Just talk about your time at St. Thomas Aquinas. You guys were a powerhouse down there.

White: Yeah, it was a great time. I'm going to miss that. Coach Smith and them are going to go out there, handle their business and just finish what we should have finished last year.

You've got some people here from the year before. That's got to be a nice friendly face to have when you first start here.

White: Yeah, that kind of pushed me over the top for the commitment. Having Conor O'Neill and Dezmen Southward here, knowing them and knowing that they felt comfortable here when I came up here I felt comfortable. So it was great. It felt like a family atmosphere when I came here and that was something I was looking for.

Would you consider yourself versatile?

White: Yeah, I'd consider myself versatile. I like catching the ball out of the backfield and things like that. Maybe that will be some of the things you'll see in the future.

Do they have you doing kick and punt returns?

White: Yeah, I've been working on kickoff and punt returns. I don't know if I'll be in that this year, but we'll just see what happens.

Are you comfortable with that? Did you do it in high school at all?

White: I didn't do it in high school because we had people faster than I was. I've worked at it before.

Is there a player you try to model your game after?

White: I'd probably have to say Brian Westbrook. He's very versatile. He catches the ball out of the backfield with screens and he's shifty also. He's not the fastest person on the field, but he will run by you. That's who I model my game after.

Are the coaches saying there's a chance for you to contribute as a freshman?

White: I haven't heard it yet, but if there is I'm going to have to keep going out here and working hard every day. I can't just slack and be like, 'Oh yeah, I'm playing and all these other freshmen aren't.' I can't get a big head about it. I'm going to stay focused and keep working towards where I want to be.

Obviously you've only been around the program for a couple of months, but have you noticed good team chemistry?

White: Yeah, it's been real fun. All the seniors are going to work with you and try to help you. They're not going to sit here and try to mess with you. It's kind of like I said, a family like atmosphere. I really like that.

Who are you rooming with?

White: Right now I'm with Isaiah Williams. He's from Florida also, so we have a lot of things in common and we bond very well.

What's a typical conversation at night before you guys go to bed?

White: Like, man, practice has been rough. I'm going to hit the bed right now. I'm going to eat and just go to sleep.

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