Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

White Answers, Makes the Calls

September 12, 2019

Drew White made the calls.

All the calls. All the settings. All the time.

Practice field? Check. Scrimmage work inside Notre Dame Stadium? Check.

Quiet moments in the film room with Irish defensive coordinator Clark Lea and graduate assistant Nick Lezynski? You bet.

“Yeah, when you go into games, you really fall back on your preparation. All fall camp, and the weeks leading up to Louisville, Coach Lea was pushing me and with the help of Coach Nick also,” said White, No. 7 Notre Dame’s starting middle linebacker when it hosts New Mexico Saturday at 2:30. “We met a lot watching film, making communications out loud in the film room. So at that point when I got into Louisville, when the communications and adjustments were happening, I was just falling back on my preparations that I had done weeks prior.”

He stopped, however, from perhaps startling his roommates with work on the calls at home.

“I keep it inside the Gug (Guglielmino Athletics Center) because I don’t know if my roommates would love it,” laughed White.

There was plenty to like about White’s preseason camp that helped him nail down the pivotal Mike linebacker spot for the Irish when they opened their quest for a return trip to the College Football Playoffs last week in a 35-17 win at Louisville.

On the field for 53 snaps, White tallied five stops, two of them for losses, and more importantly aided an Irish defense that coalesced throughout the game. Gashed for 14 points in the game’s first 11 minutes, Notre Dame allowed just three points through the final 44 minutes and also forced three turnovers.

“He was doing a good job. It was his first year starting I’m pretty sure, so I mean he was doing a good job just being loud and being the Mike linebacker that he is,” senior end Julian Okwara said. “He is the guy giving all the signals and communicating to the (defensive) line the whole time.

“He did a great job just being loud and being himself. He’s playing fluid, running to the ball, playing hard. I think we all expected that from him.”

White certainly expected it from himself, regardless of any outside considerations. His overlooked recruiting status coming out of national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas (Florida) has been well-documented, and White’s injury history has added a bit to the unknown.

The 6-foot-one-quarter-inch, 230-pounder from Boca Raton, Fla., has twice endured foot injuries and the past spring suffered a freak skiing accident on a spring break trip. That mishap resulted in another surgery, this one to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.

“Just having a lot of injuries, it’s taught me a lot about myself; it’s taught me that adversity can strike at any moment and really that plays a part in when I come to practice,” said White, who admitted he has forsaken skiing until his football career concludes. “I’m going to bring my effort and energy every play, every practice.

“Because, to me, I’ve seen it that it can go away really quick. Injuries are just a part of football. I just look forward to going out there every day and just making the most of it.”

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