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Former junior college receiver White starting to catch on with West Virginia

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:33 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Texas Tech defensive back Bruce Jones (24) breaks up a pass intended for West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (11) in the end zone during the fourth quarter of their game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va. Texas Tech defeated West Virginia, 37-27.

West Virginia receiver Kevin White made a splash at Monday's practice during a mano a mano test of manhood known as the “Oklahoma Drill.”

White got physical with big-hitting safety Karl Joseph, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, leaving a few taunts in his wake.

“I won,” White said the next day. “I like to talk trash. He likes to talk trash. I got the best of him yesterday.”

Told by a reporter that Joseph disagreed, White smiled and said, “All you've got to do is look at it.”

Such self-assuredness is a positive sign for the Mountaineers. White struggled at times last season after transferring from Lackawanna College, resembling in some games the featured receiver he was presumed to be. In others, he was something less.

“He had a little bit of lack of confidence coming from a juco, whether or not he could play with these guys,” said quarterback Clint Trickett, who is firmly established as the starter after last season's three-man shuffle.

“He did play last year, and he's going to this year, be the beast he should be. We saw glimpses of that. He told me he wants to work on being that guy all the time. And he can be.”

White, a senior who might be bigger than his listed 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, caught 35 passes for 507 yards and five touchdowns. He had seven catches in games against nationally ranked Oklahoma and Baylor but disappeared in others and dropped some big passes.

The quarterback issues didn't help, but White acknowledged feeling frustrated at times.

“The (cornerbacks) are a little quicker, a little smarter than juco players,” he said.

“I don't know if Kevin was ready for all the demands we wanted for him,” wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway said.

White said he feels “a lot different” at the dawn of a new season. He believes he is ready for the demands.

“I know the offense better,” he said. “I know what the inside (receivers) have got to do now. I don't have to think a lot. I know exactly what I have to do. Be aggressive. Try to make every catch that comes my way.”

Trickett said White has pestered him to stay late after practice, sometimes exceeding even the quarterback's patience.

“We do it,” Trickett said, “and then he wants to keep going, and I'm, like, ‘Kevin, dude, it's the third day of practice. Just relax. You're gonna be fine.' He really wants to do good. And that's a good thing, better than guys who leave right after it.”

Said Galloway: “The sky's the limit for Kevin. Kevin is going to be Kevin's worst enemy, in my opinion. It's about confidence, consistency. I mean, he's big, athletic, he can catch. This is his second year in the system where he knows what to do. Stuff should improve.”

Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bcohn@tribweb.com.

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