Grambling coordinator impressed with advances at prep level|[6/9/06]

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 9, 2006

Sammie White, the offensive coordinator for the Grambling State Tigers, likes the direction high school coaches are taking the game of football.

For 11 years, White was a standout receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. He earned NFL Rookie of the Year honors in 1976, the year NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton took the Vikings to the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl, where White caught an 11-yard touchdown pass.

&#8220Fran Tarkenton was my first pro quarterback and we went to the Super Bowl,” said White, a coach at Grambling for the past eight years.

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White lent his expertise to area football players Wednesday at the Melvin Spears Grambling State Football Camp at Vicksburg’s Memorial Stadium.

&#8220That’s one thing that I’m sorry about today is that more kids could’ve come here and met Sammie White,” VHS coach Alonzo Stevens said. &#8220He had an offense that produced an 11-1 team that won the SWAC and he was right here in Vicksburg.”

&#8220I wanted to show the kids what we run at the college level,” White said. &#8220We showed them a little bit of the spread and two receiver formations and the kids seemed to pick it up pretty quick.”

White says he’s a big fan of the summer emphasis at the high school level with 7-on-7 workouts.

&#8220That was unheard of at the high school level, even when I was with the Vikings,” White said. &#8220The game back then was about running the football and maybe passing it if you really had to.

&#8220Now, we have high school coaches who want to learn the spread offense and even more who want to implement formations out of the shotgun. It’s really helped make for some wide-open offenses.”

At Grambling State, White has put together a scheme that ranks at the top in passing efficiency, yardage and scoring in the nation in Division I-AA. Just ask Jackson State which was ripped for nearly 600 yards in a 52-21 loss that led directly to the firing of ex-coach James Bell.

&#8220It starts with the quarterback learning the right techniques,” White said. &#8220He needs to learn how to make the right pass with people in his face. He’s got to know how to read and handle the blitz.

&#8220I also work with the receivers in getting off the line of scrimmage and breaking out of the jams used by defensive backs. Coverages are now all about pressing the receivers and one way you beat that is breaking inside.”

White said his time in the NFL helped prepare him with these techniques he can now deliver to his current Tiger players and high schoolers as well.

&#8220These were techniques I learned while I was with the Vikings and I’ve been able to bring that and the things I learned from a quarterback like Fran Tarkenton to the college game.”