September 1, 2013

White embraces change

AUBURN Ryan White felt like he was better than ever last season, honing his already strong man-to-man skills and becoming more aware in all cases.

Still, he played sparingly in 2012.

Things changed dramatically for White on Saturday when the senior cornerback played a central role in the Tigers' defensive plan. He finished with one tackle, but that small statistical footprint masked a night full of playing time and relevance.

He wasn't surprised.

"I knew what I did during fall practice and that was the motivation out there tonight," White said. "I wanted to be out there. I felt like I deserved to be out there. I knew that we'd do a lot of rotation because we want to play so much man, so I saw myself as a part of that. I'm glad I got that chance."

Chris Davis and Jonathon Mincy are the Tigers' starters at cornerback. There was speculation that an injury to either player might force defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson to shift Joshua Holsey, a classically trained cornerback working at safety, back to his old position.

That happened Saturday night. Mincy led with his right shoulder while making a tackle and felt a surge of pain. Yet Johnson set White on the field and left Holsey to continue plying his trade at safety.

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