Auburn isn’t taking any chances for the Sugar Bowl this week with Sean White’s health.
The team waffled numerous times over the final month of the season determining whether to play the injured quarterback, a strategy that backfired when he aggravated an injury to his throwing shoulder against Georgia.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn put White through a rigorous series of bowl practices — making the sophomore throw the ball more than he normally would — to make sure he was 100 percent for the program’s upcoming matchup against Oklahoma.
“I needed to get my arm back into shape because I hadn’t thrown on a daily basis for a while, so Coach Malzahn put me through a tough schedule throwing-wise,” White said Saturday. “We really got my arm into shape.”
The injury forced White to make constant adjustments when dropping back to pass. White outlined an example of how if he wanted to complete a 15-yard pass, he would have to try to throw it 20-yards.
“I just feel comfortable not having to think about anything,” White said.
After spending almost every day in the trainer’s room for more than a month rehabbing the injury, White declared himself “ready to go” Saturday. The quarterback’s recent work on the practice field has backed up the assessment.
“I’ve been able to throw to every single one of the (receivers) and whatever it takes without holding back,” White said.
While White is confident about his health for the Sugar Bowl, he remains vague about the specific nature of the injury — he called it “a couple of different things” multiple times — in fear of upsetting the coaching staff.
The Florida native talked around questions about it being an injury to his AC joint, the acromioclavicular joint at the top of the shoulder, but didn’t dismiss the suggestion. The recovery time for an AC joint injury is six weeks.
“It’s difficult,” White said when asked if it was challenging to throw with an AC sprain. “Obviously, it’s your throwing shoulder, so it makes things a little tougher. At the same time, I felt like I could be out there playing. That’s in the past. It didn’t really work out toward the end of the season. I missed a couple of games, but I’m ready to go now and that’s all I’m focused on.”