Our own Diego Galaviz had a chance to interview former Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman winner Jason White. From his playing days in Norman, to his post-football life, along with his thoughts on new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, and what White thinks about the College Football Playoff.
Q: I know since you ended your OU career, you have gone onto different business ventures. What was the hardest part about transitioning from a life based around football, to moving into the business world and private sector?
A: I feel that the hardest transition was just getting into a different work routine. I played football for 20 years so just to stop that for good one day made it tough. I feel that football or any sport helps prepare you for all different aspects of life. The hard work, discipline, and dedication can be transferred to any job and help you be successful at the job.
Q: What do you miss most about playing organized football?
A: I miss the game days. Words cannot describe the feeling of walking out of the tunnel when the stadium is rocking. I also miss just waking up on Saturday mornings and getting mentally prepared to play the game that you have worked so hard to win.
Q: Now to OU, there’s been a lot of talk about the SAE members and their racist chant recorded a few weeks ago. How do you fell the university and Athletics Department handled the crisis?
A: I felt that the coaches and the players came together to show that they were a family no matter what was going on around them.
Q: On to the field… What do you believe was the biggest issue for the Sooners last season?
A: Consistency. They seemed to play lights out one game and turn around to play poorly the next.
Q: What are reasonable expectations for the Sooners this upcoming season?
A: I feel that OU can always be in the hunt for a national championship. They have all the athletes and great coaches to do great things. I also think it shows you how difficult it is to bring all the ingredients together to have a great team. Also, injuries can make or break a great season.
Q: With the hiring of Lincoln Riley as offensive coordinator, how do you think he will be able to rejuvenate the offense?
A: Coach Riley brings a lot to the table. His system has been proven with other teams with less talent. He knows what talent he has at OU and sems to want to use that talent in his offense. Plus, any time there is a major change on offense, it seems to bring some excitement to the players.
Q: With the College Football Playoff finishing its’ first year of existence, what changes, if any, would you make to it? Do you think it is an upgrade from the BCS?
A: I would definitely make the playoff eight teams. I feel that there were some teams last year that should have gotten a shot at the playoff. I do think it is an upgrade and last year proved it with Ohio State winning the national championship. They would have never gotten a chance if they used the BCS system.
Q: How much do you wish you had the CFB Playoff when you played?
A: I would have liked it because as a player you live for the big games. If you make the playoff, you get to [potentially] play in two big games back to back.
Q: You won the Heisman Trophy in 2003 so you know what you’re talking about when it comes to this: Who are your top three runners for the Heisman this season?
A: I really try not to pick any before the season starts. You never know which players are going to have a break-out year. Plus, if you have a favorite three, I feel that you will pay more attention to the throughout the season. A lot like my Heisman year, someone could pop up you never expect.
Q: Do you still keep in touch with Coach Stoops or other members of the OU football family? Do you regularly attend OU football games?
A: Yes, I try to stay in touch with as many players and coaches as possible. It seems the older you get, the harder it is to do because everyone starts families, different jobs, or moves away. The neat thing about it is that no matter how long it’s been since you have talked to someone, you seem to pick up right where you left. That’s one thing I love about OU football: no matter what year you played, you are treated like family. I try and go to as many games as I can, but both my kids play sports, so it makes it tough to have a free Saturday.
I would like to thank Jason White, an Oklahoma football legend, for taking the time to answer these questions.