Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

West Virginia receiver Kevin White, after making 35 catches in 2013, hopes to ramp up his production to a level more in line with previous Air Raid receivers like Justin Blackmon, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Whether the source was West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson or receivers coach Lonnie Galloway, the refrain regarding Kevin White sounded similar:

“He has no idea how good he can be.”

White heard the expectancy and felt primed to make the leap from junior college, imagining himself following the likes of Crabtree, Welker, Blackmon, Bailey and Austin—hyperproductve Air Raid receivers who parlayed college success into NFL jobs.

Yet White’s first go-round at West Virginia was a transitional season tempered by lessons and lapses. He wound up with only 35 catches—one fewer than he posted as a sophomore Lackawanna College—and his self-evaluation was more telling than the statistics.

“Last year I just showed a glimpse. I’d catch a ball here or drop a ball there,” White said. “I was too inconsistent. Too many dropped balls and mistakes—running the wrong route, making the wrong release.”

BIG-TIME ADJUSTMENTS
There were nuances of route-running and more pre-snap reads to digest than White encountered in junior college. With Big 12 football requiring a deeper commitment, and the scrutiny amplified, a pleaser like White allowed the small mistakes that only coaches noticed to fester into bigger mistakes everyone saw.

Against Georgia State he dropped a screen pass that could have gone for a touchdown, and later was benched for the second half after bobbling a sure-fire score in the end zone. That followed a potentially game-changing fumble at Oklahoma after WVU had driven into the red zone.

“It was me not wanting to mess up and then actually messing up, because I was thinking too much,” he said. “Not wanting to let anybody down then letting them down and hanging my head.”

Coincidentally, in some of White’s quietest individual games, West Virginia’s offense showed promise. He made one catch for 17 yards in the 30-21 upset of Oklahoma State, caught one ball for 5 yards in the 30-27 win at TCU, hauled in two passes for 27 yards in a 52-44 loss to Iowa State.

A more confident and consistent White—excited to be paired with fellow senior receiver Mario Alford and eager to see Clint Trickett seize the quarterback job—aims to boost the Mountaineers’ passing game in 2014. He especially wants to do a more consistent job beating shorter cornerbacks for the 50-50 deep balls that eluded him last season.

“I’m smarter, can read the defense better, know exactly where I have to be, know how to recognize coverages,” he said. “I feel like my down-the-field presence will be a lot better. I’m able to track the ball more and I’m working on over-the-shoulder catches.”

TRUSTING IN TRICKETT
After a summer’s worth of 7-on-7 passing sessions, White has witnessed the restoration of Trickett’s arm strength following offseason labrum surgery.

“It’s better, a lot better,” White said.

Trickett lost zip on his passes after suffering a separated shoulder in the second half against Oklahoma State. He played through pain the rest of the season, occasionally drooping his right arm after hits, and some sideline throws became problematic.

“We knew it was tough for him,” said White, making a looping hand motion to demonstrate how Trickett tried to compensate by putting more air under his passes. “He couldn’t get it there on a line anymore, so he would try to throw it before we got out of our breaks.”

Those rainbow throws are no more, said White, recalling a recent pass Trickett fired through a narrow window.

“Last week I ran an inside route and sure enough I turned my head and he hit me right on time past the defenders,” White said. “I feel like he’s getting it back.”

bubble graphic

38

bubble graphic

Comments

  • JTL

    Time for talking is over... Put up or shut up on the field.

  • hailey

    I think Kevin is primed to be a real player this year. Last yr he was frustrating to watch, for every good play there were 2 drops. it is exciting to see all the athletes on this team. The real question is can the coaching staff inspire them to over achieve?

  • WVcoal

    Sounds good. You can talk a good game and play great in practice, but unless you can bring it to the game it means nothing really.

  • JH

    Kid is a physical specimen, now he needs to spend every waking moment studying film, practicing his routes, working with the JUGS machine and his QB for timing if he wants to have a breakout year and a possible NFL career. Work young man, work and good things will happen.

  • WVU FAN

    This is a team sport / game and this team wasn't ready to play in the Big 12, now who is to blame you might ask.... Everybody at WVU ...
    But with that said WVU is on the right track of putting all pieces together to step in too the lime light of the Big 12.
    Kevin White is a great looking athlete... I don't know his mental side and that will be tested right off the bat in our first game...
    The fumble against Oklahoma hurt but he wasn't the only one to hurt WVU's chances in winning that winnable game.... Let's GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!Mountaineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeers!!!!!

  • goherdnachun

    Itz a perty dern good thing WVu ant playin the mity herd disa yeer. We fittin go underfeeted disa yeer by golly. How bout dat big mountaineers. hahaha youzin skeerd to play us disa yeer ant ya.

    • herd blows

      What language is that? Herd 0-12 and still irrelevant.

    • Who?

      I didn't know there was another team?

  • Imgrill

    You gotta love the man crush William has on Dana and Bob. Nice touch to sign in under another name and agree with yourself. This site is for WVU fans. Why are you here?

  • Ducks In A Row

    Believing is half the victory, now go into battle!

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Saying the right things. Just got to go out and do what it takes to win as a team.

  • JimJim

    There is nothing worse than reading and believing your own hype! Go with the bookies, they make a living picking winners. WVU 4-8.

  • Mike

    Time to show it on the field for White, Trickett and rest of Mountaineers.

  • Jordan

    With whites size at 6'4 he should be a beast this year last year he was just getting the offense so this year he should do good.

    Clint Trickett will be a stud for Wvu he played hurt the last 7 games so he will do much better

  • cutty77

    I saw on NFL.com yesterday that Tavon,and Bailey were both going to start for The Rams. A Bunch of Offense players let this Team down last year. I think its a QB problem. Old with The Old in with The New QB that is.

    • william

      The problem is -
      Dana "The Man in Black" Holgerson
      When you hire a guy with NO head coach experience, you LOSE!
      Don't worry WVU fans, this joker will be gone soon!

      • SCOTT

        WILLIAM...such a fashionista you are....

      • mike m.

        William.....If you're planning on coming to a game...DON'T! If you are going to watch the game on TV....DON'T! I don't need fans like you. Marshall.....they need you!

      • Ut Oh

        I can only hope, that William is gone first and soon! Holg will be fine.

      • Kevin

        Check your facts William, you freak. Oregon's new coach was an OC, how'd he do last year. How about Gus Malzhan, he was a winner at Ark St and at Auburn....he was only an OC before then. The list could go on and on............holgs will be fine....give it time....

        • william

          I would bet none of those coaches got KICK OUT of any business in their state!
          How many business has this Guy been KICKED OUT OF in the State of WV?
          His days are numbered at WVU
          Not a MOUNTAINEER and NEVER will be!

          • Big Larry

            "Love your Work"

          • Mike

            We are so happy that you are not a WVU fan. Following MU really sucks. Maybe one day you will find a real football team to follow. Untill then enjoy your C-USA high school team.

          • Ut Oh

            You should know Billy Boy. You are the only true Mountaineer, Right?

          • Andy

            He IS a mountaineer because he is the head football coach you fool. Stop acting like a petulant child who doesn't like any outsiders to cross the state line and play with your toys.

  • TruthTeller

    He should be watching film on Brandon Myles and Stedman Bailey. Those guys were great receivers.

  • Holgie

    I like this kid's attitude.