WVU Q&A with Pat White and Steve Slaton

Sean Tinnelly@@kellansfatherCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2009

As I was looking through some of my older things I found an interview I did with Pat White and Steve Slaton while I was a student at West Virginia University. Although this took place two years ago I thought some Mountaineer fans would enjoy reading this.

The following is an interview that took place back in April 2006 with West Virginia University starting quarterback Pat White, and running back Steve Slaton. For those of you that love the Mountaineers I hope you enjoy this.

1. Where are you from?
White- Daphne, Alabama
Slaton- Levittown, Pennsylvania

2. What are your majors?
White- Communications
Slaton- Sports Management

3. What’s your favorite thing to do on campus?
White- My favorite thing to do is to come to the stadium, it’s my life.
Slaton- My favorite thing is to come to the stadium; you develop a love for it. Besides being here, I like to hang out with my friends.

4. What would you like to do when you graduate?
Slaton- Id like to graduate and play in the NFL, but if the NFL is not for me, I would like to have a nice job to support my family.
White- If I don’t make it to the next level, I would like to have a job in the communications field.

5. If you do go pro, is there a certain team that you would like to play for?
White- It’s weird because I’m from Alabama, but for some reason the Steelers is all I have known, you can’t come to my house and talk to my father about anything else but the Steelers. My father is a big Steelers fan, so it would have to be the Steelers.
Slaton- For me I’ve always grown up being from Philly, loving the Cowboys, and that’s a little weird, I was a huge Emmitt Smith fan growing up. Just to be there would be a compliment in itself.

6. How long have you been playing football?
White- I’ve been playing since the age of four.
Slaton- I’ve been playing since I was 10; its kind of funny because I started playing baseball, and I use to think baseball was for me.

7. Pat, have you always been a quarterback, or have you played any other positions?
White- I got my first start as a quarterback in my junior year in high school. Before that I played receiver and cornerback.

8. Steve are there any positions that you have played besides running back?
Slaton- I started out playing running back, until high school I played quarterback. I have always played running back. I have also played cornerback, safety and linebacker.

9. What was it like to step on to Mountaineer field for your first time, your first live game experience?
White- You try to think you have been doing this your whole life, so there is no difference when you step out of the tunnel. All you see is the football field because you try to just focus in on the game.
Slaton- It was a big difference, because I did not go to a very big high school. We had a lot of fans, but there is no comparison to this. After the first two carries I got use to it, and I looked at it just like any other football game.

10. How do you guys mentally prepare for a game?
Slaton- I don’t have a ritual but the same person tapes me up, it sometimes depends, but every game I like to take time to myself to relax. I like to be around my teammate as well, because they get my pumped up for the game.
White- Mentally before the game I like to make plays in my head before I step onto the field.

11. Pat, the WVU offense is known to be a no huddle running offense. Do you find the WVU offense harder to run then the typical west coast offense you see at other schools?
White- I can’t really answer that question, because I haven’t seen many of the other offenses that the other schools have.

12. Do you find it difficult to call the plays in the no huddle during the game, how do you get into the zone to do that?
White- You have to have fun, you have to focus on the game itself. You need to get yourself mentally and physically ready for a game during the week before the game.

13. Steve, you are known for your speed, is they’re anything you have done specifically to work on your speed?
Slaton- First I have to say it’s a God given talent. There is not much you can do with speed; you can help it a little. I just feel truly blessed with the speed I have.

14. Now, a question many students wonder about is your time in the 40. What is your time in the 40?
Slaton- I run a 4.37 at an indoor field. I believe I’m faster, but that’s my time right now.

15. Now, Pat what do you run in the 40 since you are known to be a mobile quarterback?
White- I run a 4.41, that's what I ran in the indoor.
Slaton- I have to say that your 40 time and game speed is a completely different thing.

16. What is the toughest aspect of being a player at a big school on such a national level?
Slaton- Being sure of yourself. I have not been here for a full year, I know the plays but sometimes I do second-guess myself, remembering every play is probably the hardest thing.
White- You appreciate the things that are happening, but you have to also ignore the outside attention so that your game play is not affected by surrounding events.
Slaton- It takes a lot of maturity to handle yourself. You need to be mature.

17. How did the student body treat you guys after you won the Sugar Bowl, did you get a very warm reception going to class that first week?
White- It’s West Virginia football and they love it, so it’s great to see the smile on their faces and how excited they were about football. It makes you happy
Slaton- It’s one of the main reasons we play, to make people happy, to make ourselves happy. Its for the fans, I believe our fans truly just bleed gold and blue.

18.What was the most exciting part about playing in the Sugar Bowl is there something specific that stands out in your experience playing in a major bowl game?
White- I was just so excited to be playing an SEC, school because of the area I grew up in, SEC country.
Slaton-I was just very excited, Pat and I talked before the game, and listened to our doubters, and we were very excited to show that we were better than people thought?

19. Do you sometimes feel over looked or underrated because we play in the Big East, which is considered to be a weaker conference compared to some of the other major conferences in college football?
Slaton- I felt coming out of high school I would play running back. Not too many schools wanted me as a running back. I feel playing at WVU on the top of the Big east was a good fit for me.
White- I don’t think anyone up until the Sugar bowl had respect for West Virginia, people in the big east respect the big east, but as far as the big east a lot of people don’t respect it, and there is a lot of talent in the Big East.

20. Pat Forde of ESPN.com recently had an article, and in that article he had you guys coming out number one in the country, and he also predicted that you would make a run for the national title, how does that make you feel, and does that effect the pressure or the feelings you have towards this upcoming season?
White- Every time I step on the field I’m playing for a championship, I’m playing to win a championship, it doesn’t matter if I am playing baseball, football, or even pool. I just want to win. People predictions, I don’t pay much attention to that. I am out there to just win.
Slaton-I think a lot of teams and some people jumped on our bandwagon. I think some people might want to hype us up to put us down, but I think we practice very hard, and we work very hard to win a championship. Not too many guys have gone into the season thinking about our ranking. We play to win every time we go out there on the field.

21. What do you think the main focus of the team this season is?
Slaton- Show the big east goes through Morgantown, show that we deserve the spotlight, and show that we really truly are number one.
White- Go undefeated playing Mountaineer football.

22. Is there any specific game that you go into looking forward to the most?
White- First game of the season, that is the only game I think about.
Slaton- I would have to say first and last, that national title game, because I feel that we really have the potential to get there.

23. How has coach Rodriguez helped you develop individually as a player?
White- He is a coach that loves the game. He puts a lot of effort into his coaching. He pushes you to be the best. You cannot be a Mountaineer and not actually love this game; to come to this facility everyday and play the way we do you have to love the game.
Slaton- He is a good critic and a bad critic, he tells you the good things that you are doing, and the bad things that you are doing as well.

24. What would you say was the turning point of your season last year? What point in the season really gave you guys the extra push to win out and make it to the Sugar Bowl game?
White- I think from the beginning we were working towards that goal, but if I had to pick a game I would have to say Louisville. Everyone was picking Louisville to win the Big East, and they haven’t even played a game in the Big East. Making that comeback sparked a lot of eyes in the stands as well as the sidelines. The people that didn’t believe all of a sudden became believers.
Slaton- I would have to say the Louisville game, particularly the last eight minutes of the game.

25. Where is the toughest place to play on the road?
Slaton- Mountaineer field for me I don’t really care where we play. But I know how our fans are and I would have to say Mountaineer field is the toughest place to play on the road.

26. With all the hype, and high expectations, is there anything you would like to say to the Mountaineer nation about the upcoming season, is there any chance of a Heisman trophy for either of you?
White- I could care less about the Heisman, I want that national championship. I believe that you will see Mountaineer football played for sixty minutes a game.
Slaton- For me the Heisman is not an individual award. I think is shows great team playing ability. I think that with our offense we have a great chance to succeed this year.


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