Noxubee County High School junior quarterback Khristopher White was 9-for-17 for 92 yards Friday in a 17-0 victory against Greenwood in the Louisville Jamboree at Starkville High. Photo by: Jim Lytle/Special to The Dispatch
August 16, 2018 11:07:08 AM
STARKVILLE -- The "little things" stand out to Teddy Young.
Those details helped Termarcus Conner find Young, Patrick Patterson, or Vincent Sanders for big gains in the Noxubee County High School football team's 2008 state championship season.
Young might not have realized the importance of those little things when he was a player, but they are magnified now that he is an associate head coach / offensive coordinator and working with a new quarterback. Junior Khristopher White is set to become the leader of the offense for the reigning Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A State champion at 7 p.m. Friday when Noxubee County takes on Class 6A Starkville in the season opener for both teams.
White was 9-for-17 for 92 yards last Friday night in a 17-0 victory against Greenwood in the Louisville Jamboree at Starkville High. The 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander showed a strong arm and an ability to make things happen with his legs. Young also saw plenty of things to work on to help White take the reins from quarterback Armoni Clark, who led the Tigers to their third state title in the last four years, and fifth overall, in 2017.
"He did a lot of good things for the team," Young said. "It is the little things -- footwork, mechanics with the ball, reading the defense -- he has to get better at."
Young said the Tigers will try to do a lot of "quick things" in the offense in an attempt to make White feel comfortable. With weapons like Kyziah Pruitt, Maliek Stallings, Ja'Qualyn Smith, and Kaiyus Lewis, just to name four, the Tigers have enough weapons to get the ball to their options and let them make plays. Young said a short passing game will maximize Noxubee County's ability to use the speed and athleticism of its playmakers. He feels the depth at the skill positions will help White make a smooth transition.
"One day they might double Pruitt and we can still go backside to the one-on-one matchup and they can win," Young said. "If all fails, I tell him he can always go one-on-one to the backside and trust his guys to make a play."
The Tigers had plenty of opportunities to make plays against Greenwood in two quarters. White started the night with a completion to Stallings from the right hashmark to the left side of the field. He demonstrated solid arm strength and footwork to get his shoulders turned to make the pass.
Things weren't as crisp in other moments.
Whether it was rolling out or reading the defense, White short-armed a number of passes and chose the incorrect route on several others when another Tiger was open.
Noxubee County coach Tyrone Shorter pointed those mistakes out immediately afterward. On one, Shorter mimicked the motion of a baseball pitcher in an effort to show White he needed to follow through and get his entire body behind the throw.
"He still has to work out some kinks, but he is going to be fine," Shorter said. "I thought he did a lot of great things tonight, but he did some bad things, too.
"It is going to come with more reps. We have to put him in that situation at practice so he can start reading that stuff. If he can read that type of stuff, he is going to be dynamic. It is just small things he has to work on that will make him so much better because he is going to put pressure on folks because he is so athletic and he can run the football, and he has a strong arm."
Young saw the same things. He said White can make the throws and needs to develop the consistency to put all of the "little things" together. Young said he and assistant coach Deangelo Ballard, who was a quarterback on Noxubee County's 2012 championship team, will stress those details with White so all of those good habits become routine.
"We're going to do a lot of footwork and quick releases with him," Young said. "It is just about reps."
After four months of drills and training, Young expects White to be ready for the biggest stage: the Class 4A State title game in Hattiesburg.
"I think by district time, we are playing these tough opponents he is going to be like Armoni Clark and ready to go," Young said. "He is going to be athletic and able to use his feet. Once he gets better at reading the defense and doing everything right mechanically, we will be good."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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