MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- With an injury that the Mountaineers have yet to publicly label a concussion, quarterback Patrick White is dressed in sweats today and skipped West Virginia's homecoming date against Syracuse because of week-long lingering problems.
The two-time Heisman Trophy candidate and Big East offensive player of the year exited their Rutgers victory late in the third quarter last Saturday after a helmet-to-helmet tackle that left him "dinged," which was as far as Coach Bill Stewart would go with a medical diagnosis for public consumption. However, White -- who also left the previous game early, against Marshall, with a bruised thumb -- exhibited memory loss through midweek, when he missed practice and asked media not to question him about a Rutgers game he couldn't recall. Syracuse constituted his first missed start after 19 consecutive and 35 of 36. And White surely liked playing Syracuse: He riddled the Orange for 356 yards rushing and five touchdowns plus 310 yards passing plus with another touchdown in three career touchdowns.
Same as the Dec. 1, 2006 home date with Rutgers, which White missed due to a high ankle sprain, Jarrett Brown got the start today. In fact, White's absence left only four quarterbacks dressed at Mountaineer Field today: Brown, part-time receiver Bradley Starks, red-shirting freshman Coley White and Chartiers-Houston's Josh DiPasquale, who was listed as a linebacker a few weeks ago.
UPDATE 9:40 p.m.: Stewart apologized after the game for not commiting full disclosure previously about White's injury, which he admitted for the first time was indeed a concussion. The coach said White had headaches through the middle of the week and was off "equilibrium," so they sent him for tests Friday -- a CAT scan and a concussion IMPACT study at Stewart's request -- which found the quarterback was off his normal neuropsychological funtion. "He's just not at his baseline," Stewart said. "He's so much better today. He'll be ready to play" -- the coach then knocked his wooden lectern twice -- "Cub and Scout's honor. . . next time we get ready to play," Oct. 23 against Auburn. Stewart added that defensive lineman Pat Liebig, who today missed his third consecutive game with what the coach also revealed to be a concussion, still suffers from after-effects where crowd noise causes a headache. From this experience with White, Stewart said the coaching and medical staff has decided to re-evaluate such potential injuries not the day of or day after a game, but later: "We now know a concussion is best graded a few days after the incident."