Pat White, the 2nd round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2009 out of West Virginia University had an up and down rookie campaign. He showed certain flashes of that explosive dual threat athlete that we all watched during his days at West Virginia, like in the first New England Patriots game.
In that game, White frequently substituted for Chad Henne at QB in the 2nd quarter, and lead the Dolphins to a touchdown drive, mixing in some nice pistol spread option plays that showcased White's ability to get to the perimeter alley on the speed option (one play he ripped off a 33 yard run) and on the final play of the drive execute a perfect option pitch to Ricky Williams for a red zone touchdown.
In other action throughout the year, White came into games during some very important moments, like in the final drive of the Dolphins/Jets first game, where he ran a QB draw for an important first down, and the Tennessee game, where he came in on an important game tie-ing two point conversion and executed the wildcat for the score (handing off to Ricky Williams) with under a minute to play.
A lot has been made of Pat White not completing a pass this year out of 5 total attempts, but on the flip side he also did not throw any interceptions. Now to the 'fan' of football, this may sound terrible, but to a 'coach' of football, I'd rather see a guy not throw an interception and not complete a pass as opposed to say completing 2 of 5 passes, with 2 picks!
Pat also never turned the football over in his 13 game appearances in 2009, with the only 'bad' play I saw being an option pitch in the 2nd New England game that was deflected when he got hit, resulting in a 15 yard loss as Ricky Williams fell on the ball.
I think it's obvious that the Miami coaching staff likes Pat's work ethic, intelligence, athletic ability, and knowledge of the situations he was being placed into, as knowing Tony Sparano, he doesn't take anything for granted in regards to player preparation on the field.
I personally feel that the following needs to happen with Pat White in the future to ensure success in the NFL.
1) Get Bigger - I know Pat was quoted as saying he's been trying to gain body weight since birth, but it is critical that he come in next year at 6'0 205 lbs (as opposed to the 190 lbs he is now). Obviously he needs to maintain his speed, agility, etc... with the added muscle. Basically he needs a nutritionist and the Miami strength program to help him accomplish this.
2) Call Steve Young - 'If' Pat is going to remain as just a quarterback, he needs to spend some quality time with Steve Young, the ex-BYU Cougar, Tampa Bay Buc, San Fransico 49er and hall of famer. Some may forget, but Young had it rough when he entered the league out of BYU. In addition, he's physically the same as Pat White (6'0-6'1 ish, great runner/scrambler, lefty thrower, strong football IQ, nice guy, etc..).
Use the off-season to get with Young for days at a time, learn his techniques, field tactics, training methods, throwing motion as a fellow lefty, throwing on the run, situational stuff, field general ship, etc...
Parcells worked with Young during his ESPN stints, I'm sure he could make it happen.
3) If #2 (being a full-time QB) is not in the plans... If the Dolphins feel the QB experiment is over, then Pat needs to work in being a 'slash' guy. Watch film of Josh Cribbs, Brad Smith, get bigger (as #1 explains above), get reps catching passes, punts, kick-offs, taking reverse hand-offs and pitches, continue throwing the ball, etc..
I think it's safe to say that the 'wildcat' position is here to stay, I still feel Pat could be the "WildCat in HD" that the league still has not seen. Pat White can throw the football, I think you'll see that next year.
The ironic part of it all is that Ronnie Brown (of the Dolphins) in my opinion is the best WildCat runner in the league, he has such a sense for that position, especially on the runs. Pat has a great guy to learn off of.
Finally, as some of you may know Pat took a nasty helmet to helmet hit in the final game vs the Steelers. Nothing was dirty about it at all, Ike Taylor was just playing hard, and Pat was tripped up prior to contact, placing him in a vulnerable position.
He seems OK, and you couldn't find a better time to get that injury, with the off-season starting the next day.
Below is a nice interview with Pat White by Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel website.
Keep spreading e'm!