Back on Solid Ground

Oct. 2, 2001

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

In the spring of 1999, Herman White was poised to start at middlelinebacker for the University of Wyoming for the next three years.

He played well as a true freshman in a back-up role in 11 games. He recorded26 tackles, one fumble recovery and one pass break-up.

But injuries and illnesses put White's progress on hold. Over the next twoseasons he amassed only 37 tackles.

Since 1999, White has torn both hamstrings, suffered a separated shoulderand hurt his wrist. Last season he got a medical hardship after playing injust two games.

Just when White thought his football injuries were behind him, he sufferedyet another setback. But this one had nothing to do with football.

He came down with vertigo, a condition where one suffers the feeling ofwhirling or dizziness. He contracted those symptoms following an earinfection.

White missed most of spring drills and wondered whether he would ever playagain.

"It's one of those things you have to take very seriously," he said. "Yourwhole equilibrium gets thrown off. You can't move too fast."

Fortunately for White, and thanks to medication, the vertigo has subsided.He said he still gets dizzy when he looks into the sun, but he is able toplay.

"It's one of those things only time can heal," White said. "But I feel greatnow."

UW's defense also feels great having him in the lineup.

He is third in tackles with 28 and leads the team in tackles for loss (3 for17 yards) and quarterback sacks (2 for 15 yards).

"I've been playing linebacker since I was 6 or 7 years old," he said. "It'sone of those things that comes natural. I like being out there motivating myteammates and having them motivate me."

Coach Vic Koenning, who coach White as UW's defensive coordinator from1997-99, said White is a prototypical middle linebacker.

"Herman is a tremendous leader," he said. "He's a very good vocal leader onthe field, and that's what you need as a guy who calls the signals for yourdefense."

Koenning added he would like to see White put a little more weight on his217-pound frame. And he said he would like to see White continue to progressas a player.

"Herman has done a lot of things this year to get better prepared for theseason," he said. "He's paid the price a little more than what he's done upto this point.

"I may not ever let him leave (Laramie) again for the summer. I want to keephim here in the weight room and keep getting him faster and stronger."