The spotlight is on White
Published: Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:44 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE — Whether it's calling plays or finding a new job, timing is important. At the moment, Brian White's timing seems pretty close to perfect.
This all appears like the ideal set up for the Florida running backs coach.
Charlie Weis leaves for Kansas, Will Muschamp needs someone to coordinate the offense for the Gator Bowl, and he happens to have an assistant on his staff who has 10 years of experience as a college offensive coordinator.
That would be Brian White.
And in what basically will be an audition for the full-time job as UF's offensive coordinator, White will be going against a team and a conference that he is very familiar with.
That would be Ohio State and the Big Ten.
“It's probably a little bit ironic,” White said after UF's practice Wednesday. “I'm looking forward to it. I have tremendous respect for Ohio State and their program. It's one of the most traditional programs in the country.
“I had some wonderful games against them in my past. I'm looking forward to competing against them in a bowl game.”
Having coached at Wisconsin for 11 years (eight years as the offensive coordinator) under Barry Alvarez, White knows the Buckeyes better than anyone in the Florida camp.
He's called hundreds of plays against the Buckeyes in the past. He he knows what to expect and what to prepare for.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” said White, when asked if the OSU defense he's seen on tape is like those he coached against in the past. “Very physical, very well-coached, extremely sound. It starts with their defensive front. Nothing has changed in that regard.”
Muschamp has pretty much said that White is auditioning for the offensive coordinator's position during bowl preparation and in Monday's game.
White said he doesn't quite see it that way.
“No. I think I answered that earlier,” White said. “In our profession, you audition every day for your job, regardless what the position is. I'm thankful (for the opportunity).
“If you want to consider it an audition, I'm thankful to be a part of this university and part of Coach Muschamp's staff, and to be auditioning for any opportunity to be a part of it.”
White has not called plays since he was the offensive coordinator at Syracuse in 2007.
He was asked if calling plays is a lot like riding a bicycle.
“If they work it's like riding a bicycle,” White said. “If they're not, it's like learning to ride a bicycle.
“I enjoy it. I'm looking forward to the opportunity and really thrilled that Will has provided that opportunity for me and us as an offensive staff to put a great game plan together to beat Ohio State.”
White said calling plays is not all that complicated.
“Really, nothing,” White said when asked what's the toughest part. “Quite honestly, what people don't realize is game plans are very collaborative efforts and they're very structured and your calls are very defined based on situational football and down-and-distance.
“Not to diminish the role of play-caller, but it's not as difficult as one would expect. Now, there's a knack to making the right call at the right time. But for the most part, Will could have picked anyone else on our (offensive staff). They're all qualified to do it.”
But Muschamp picked him, and now White has a chance to run the Florida offense against an opponent he knows well.
The timing seems almost perfect.
“You've got to play,” he said. “You've got to go out and compete and perform and get first downs.
“Our job on offense is to secure the football and score points with it. That's what we're going to do.”
White said the offense will feature a few new wrinkles, but for the most part, it's going to be the same offense the Gators have run throughout the season.
“You have to be judicious and smart,” White said. “You don't want to overload your team. They can handle only so many new things. You always want to provide a couple of wrinkles (the opponent) hasn't prepared for, but you can't just recreate a new offense every week, and certainly not for a bowl game.
“A lot of times as a coach, you fall into that trap. I believe we have not. I'm looking forward to seeing us execute our base core offense and execute it well.”