West Virginia's Coley White: A Foot in the Door

RG YohoCorrespondent IMay 5, 2010

MORGANTOWN, WV - DECEMBER 1: Patrick White #5 of the West Virginia Mountaineers looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Milan Puskar Stadium on December 1, 2007 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

West Virginia University just completed their spring game, signifying the end of their spring football drills.

In my opinion, clearly the best thing to come out of spring football practice is the emergence of Coley White as a genuine contender for the quarterback position.

While most observers have already relegated the starting position to Geno Smith, his foot injury has allowed Coley to get his foot in the door.

Although Smith participated in spring drills, his injury made it necessary for White to take his place under center on both the Gold and Blue squads for the game.

Leading both teams, White completed 22 passes in 36 attempts for 189 yards.

Those aren’t earth-shaking numbers; but they are certainly respectable for a young man that most people had already dismissed from consideration as the starting signal caller.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I have been pulling for Coley White since day one, ever since he was recruited by the Mountaineers.

As someone who grew up on a cattle farm, I know a little bit about bloodlines.

In much the same way that good bloodlines translate into good characteristics in beef or dairy cattle, they also carry over to athletics as well.

Coley’s older brother, Bo, was a good college receiver. And of course, you all know about Pat White, four-year starter at WVU, currently an NFL backup quarterback with the Miami Dolphins.

Obviously, the brothers resemble each other; but that is only the beginning of the similarities.

Most importantly, we know that the White family not only turned out some good athletes; they also produced some fine young men, who exhibit the very best qualities as citizens, students, and teammates.

As good as Pat White eventually revealed himself to be, many people have already forgotten that the man who quarterbacked West Virginia to an unprecedented four bowl victories could not win the starting position under center. It took an injury to the starter, Adam Bednarik, to earn him a place on the field, a position he never surrendered.

The character, the ability, the moves—whatever it was that made Pat White such an exceptional athlete—I believe those same qualities also exist in his younger brother, Coley.

Although some players clearly give it their all in practice, it is the competition, that game-time situations require, that often brings out the best in an athlete.

You often hear people talk about the “it factor.”

Although I have always despised that term, it is an attempt on the part of sports commentators to explain whatever quality it is that makes a player special.

I believe Coley White is a gamer. I also believe he has whatever it is that makes an athlete rise to another level above his competition.

Despite the fact that Geno Smith is the current starter, and the Mountaineers have recruited some excellent talent for the position, perhaps White will still get the chance to show West Virginia fans what he might do at quarterback.

However, I would recommend that Geno Smith better take good care of his foot, unless he wants to give Coley White another leg up on the starting quarterback position.