Last week, Portland State coach Tim Walsh said that for new arrival Brian White to play immediately at quarterback 'would be like (somebody) taking a calculus class without looking at the calculus book.'
'I've never taken calculus,' White said Sunday, 'but I'm all right in math.'
White was more than all right on the field, too, in Saturday's battle with Montana. A transfer from the University of Colorado, he played the final 2 1/3 quarters as the Vikings nearly overcame a 16-0 deficit, losing 26-20 at PGE Park.
White had only about 16 PSU plays in his arsenal, because he had had only four days of practice since joining the team.
'But I felt more than ready to go in,' he says. 'I was really confident with the whole package I had.'
The 6-5, 225-pound junior from Mission Viejo, Calif., could get his first start Saturday at Montana State, although senior QB Sawyer Smith is close to returning. Smith suffered a hip injury Sept. 16 at Cal. 'It's Sawyer's team,' Walsh says. But White knows it could be his team next year.
White says he considered going to Washington or Arizona out of high school before choosing Colorado and then-coach Gary Barnett. But White became disenchanted and left the Buffaloes on Sept. 10. He already was planning to come to Portland State when Smith and second-string QB Tygue Howland got hurt at Cal (Howland is out for the season with a knee injury).
'I had kind of sat back and accepted my role at Colorado for three years, then was No. 1 through the whole spring, summer and first part of fall camp,' White says. 'Then Coach (Dan) Hawkins decided to go a different route. So I was just looking for anywhere to play -Division I or I-AA, preferably on the West Coast. I was talking to the offensive coordinator at Sacramento State, and he knew (PSU offensive coordinator) Jeff Hoover and got me in touch with him the day before the Cal game.'
White, a sociology major, was able to make it to Portland in time for the start of fall classes. He didn't know anyone on the team, but he slept at Smith's apartment his first night here, waiting to get a dorm room on campus that he now shares with freshman defensive end Josh Evans.
White was 7 of 16 for 142 yards and one touchdown, a 35-yard streak to Tremayne Kirkland.
'I think I have a pretty strong arm, can do a good job of being a leader of the offense and can manage the game,' he says. 'I definitely like to throw the ball deep. It only helps if you can make the corners and safeties think you're going to stretch the defense.'