White starts nearly overnight

STALLIONS NOTEBOOK

September 03, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

HAMILTON, Ontario -- A week ago, Brian White was one of the New England Patriots' final cuts. On Tuesday, the Baltimore Stallions signed him and brought him to his first Canadian Football League practice. Last night, he started at free safety against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"It's been a very interesting week. It's been a whirlwind," White said.

The son of former Boston Celtics point guard Jo Jo White, Brian White was a two-year starter at Dartmouth. There, he earned all-Ivy League honors last year, when he recorded 74 tackles and four interceptions. As a junior, the 6-foot, 200-pounder led the Big Green with 10 pass knockdowns. He also was a four-year letterman on Dartmouth's lacrosse team.

"I'm excited to be doing what I love, which is playing football, especially coming into a situation like this," White said. "This pretty much happened overnight."

And so did White's approach to playing safety. In one week, he has had to get used to playing at a faster pace, on a wider, longer field, while resisting the temptation to execute his favorite activity -- charging upfield to drop running backs.

"We play pass first, pass second and run third in the CFL. Now, I'm kind of like a last-resort tackler," White said. "Here, when the quarterback is scrambling, you always stay back. Here, I'm seeing five receivers instead of three.

"Pro football is a lot like a classroom experience, and coming from a school like Dartmouth, that prepared me. Athletes love challenges, and I'm no exception."

Baltimore coach Don Matthews hopes that, in White, the Stallions will discover a permanent replacement for Lester Smith, whose outstanding season was cut short a month ago by a broken foot. Since that injury, Kareem Bacon and Norris Thomas, neither of whom is a true safety, have taken turns at Smith's old position. Thomas has since been released.

"We're looking for another Lester Smith, and that's what we feel White is," Matthews said. "The Patriots told us he's a big-time banger."

Pourdanesh has fracture

The frustration goes on for Baltimore offensive left tackle Shar Pourdanesh. He missed his first start against Toronto last week with two sprained ankles that caused him to leave the Memphis game early a week earlier, and the team has learned that one of Pourdanesh's ankles has a hairline fracture. He probably will miss another two games.

Pourdanesh, the league's reigning Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, did not make the trip to Hamilton. Mike Withycombe started in his place for the second straight week.

Anthony misses first game

For the first time in his two-year stint as a Stallion, halfback Charles Anthony missed a game. Anthony flew back to Baltimore early yesterday morning after his wife, Kim, went into labor. Courtney Griffin was activated off the practice roster to start in Anthony's place.

Anthony leads the Stallions with four interceptions. His absence leaves the Stallions with five players who have started every game in the franchise's two-year history -- cornerback Irv Smith, halfback Ken Watson, linebacker Tracy Gravely, right tackle Neal Fort and slotback Chris Armstrong.

Miscellaneous

About 200 Baltimore fans traveled to Hamilton to see last night's game. . . . Backup quarterback Shawn Jones arrived in Hamilton on Friday, the day after the team flew here. Jones said his car broke down Thursday, causing him to miss the team flight. . . . Five of the Stallions' final seven regular-season games

are at home.

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