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Northwestern’s Dwight White moving into full-time cornerback role

Northwestern v California

Northwestern v California

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Saturday

Syracuse at
No. 19 Northwestern

The facts: 5 p.m., BTN, 1000-AM.

The records: NU 1-0, Syracuse 0-1.

The line: Northwestern by 16 1⁄2.

Updated: October 8, 2013 6:14AM



Cornerback Dwight White had some experience on special teams and in the dime package, but that didn’t prepare him for what happened in last Saturday’s 44-30 victory at California.

The redshirt freshman was expected to see a good amount of action in that game, but a season-ending knee injury to starter Daniel Jones propelled White into a full-time cornerback slot.

Like any newbie corner, White knew he would get picked on. But it wasn’t until he played in the second half that he knew just how much he would be involved.

“Just touching the field before [the Cal game], just getting thrown in there on special teams and the dime package, things like that, of course, that did help a little bit,” White said. “But, of course, becoming an every-down player was much different.”

The most difficult adjustment for White might be over, though.

Having to replace an injured teammate naturally would shock any player, regardless of how much he prepared.

White said all backups prepared for the possibility that a starter could go down. And getting first-team reps all week in practice is certain to help him when he starts Saturday against Syracuse in Northwestern’s home opener.

Just like the Golden Bears did last weekend, Syracuse will pick on White. He’s prepared for that. But he also knows that the more he proves himself as a capable cornerback, the less he’ll get picked on.

“Early on [in the Cal game], he struggled a little bit,” Northwestern defensive backs coach Jerry Brown said. “Like any football game, you catch a new guy out there, he’s going to get baptized, and he did. I always tell him it’s a great experience for him. Obviously, he’s not believing me at the time, but all corners have to go through it.”

Email: sgruen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SethGruen



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