Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pats' White ready to seize any opportunity he's given


New England Patriots tailback James White is used to a crowded backfield, particularly one with serious talent.

Splitting time with now-Broncos ball carrier Montee Ball for part of his collegiate career, patience and persistence were key traits he needed to utilize. He even battled as a senior, sharing nearly an equal amount of touches with talented sophomore Melvin Gordon.

But after rushing for more than 1,400 yards his final year with Oklahoma and landing in Foxborough through fourth-round selection, White joins a large running back corps not lacking in talent or youth.

It's a situation he hopes to attack head on with more and more hard work, both on and off the field.

"Just take advantage of my opportunities," White said Tuesday of his plan, via patriots.com. "That's all you've got to do. Whenever the ball is in your hands, make the most of your opportunity.

"I'm just going to do whatever the coaches tell me. Learn all the plays. You gotta know the plays in order to get on the field."

White is one of three rookies tailbacks to join the roster this offseason, though he's the only one whose name was called on draft weekend. Fellow teammates Roy Finch and Stephen Houston were brought in as undrafted free agents, and all three will be vying for a starting spot on the final roster.

And they're not alone. The trio joins five others looking toward a starting role, a group that doesn't include a single man over the age of 25 or one that has more than four years experience in the league.

Age and wisdom aren't always synonymous, however, and White told reporters he's ready to take a backseat once he begins to mix it up with the likes of Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, especially if it means he'll absorb some much needed material along the way.

"I spoke to them a little bit," White said of his new teammates. "I'm starting to mix in with them a bit this week, so just learn from those guys, work hard and get ready to play.

"They're all going to lead by example. Some will lead vocally, some will lead by example; I'm just going to follow their lead."

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily