AUBURN, Ala. — This spring camp for Auburn football felt long for Sean White.
For the most part, the Auburn quarterback did what he would normally do. White went to meetings and walk-throughs. He watched film. He familiarized himself with his new offensive coordinator and went through 7-on-7 drills.
Yet White also spent many of the Tigers’ 14 spring practices limited by offseason surgery to his forearm, instead watching transfer Jarrett Stidham take and excel in first-team reps.
That was the case Saturday when Stidham threw for 267 yards through the first half of Auburn’s spring game. Following the starters’ win, White sat in front of reporters once again answering similar questions about the position battle this fall and his feelings on where he stands.
“I mean [Stidham] probably has a little bit of an edge just because,” White said. “I mean I have to admit, because he’s been through spring and been scrimmaging and gotten more reps than me.”
It hasn’t been easy. Of course White would have rather played on A-Day and battled for the starting job. Still, White says he has no plans to transfer from Auburn. He’s gained an understanding of the offense and can see the potential for 2017 — really, the spring has made him more eager for the fall.
“When I get a few reps in fall camp and stuff with all the scrimmaging that’ll probably help me out even more,” White said. “But I don’t think missing the scrimmage is a huge disadvantage.”
As fans inside Jordan-Hare Stadium cheered on Stidham, White focused on the action unfolding on the field.
“I think [Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey] has brought some really good passing aspects, down the field, more open stuff like that,” White said. “Our receivers played really well, too. I’m just excited to play in this offense with some talent and compete.”
White understands the growth that happens between your first and second year in college football. He saw another example of it as freshman Nate Craig-Myers pulled in 5 passes for 154 yards.
“Like Nate and Darius (Slayton) and those guys, like coming from being a freshman to a sophomore is a big jump,” White said. “I think that showed today… I’m really excited about our receivers. All spring long I think they’ve done a great job. I think they’ve gotten a lot better than they were last year and it’s credit to [wide receivers coach Kodi] Burns and working real hard. I’m excited to be able to play with them.”
Even when he couldn’t be on the field, White found ways to be a leader. He’s caught Lindsey’s eye by helping receivers and early enrollee Malik Willis learn the ropes at quarterback.
Heading into the summer, White won’t waste any time. He knows what he needs to concentrate on and improve.
“I think coach Lindsey has brought a lot of new stuff and some good stuff I really like,” White said. “So it’s a little more open I would say. He’s helping me with my mechanics and stuff and I think I’ve definitely gotten better on the deep ball this spring and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.”
Just as he did on Saturday, White will keep blocking out all the Stidham conversation. It may have bothered him early on, but he’s a veteran who’s competed before. At this point he doesn’t let it irritate him.
“At this point I’ve just learned to really tune it out,” White said. “It doesn’t really affect me at all or anything. I’ve just got to go out there and play everyday and do my best. The rest will take care of itself. … As a player you just have to tune that stuff out and just play and practice and just have fun playing, that’s all you can do.”