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Wed., Aug. 24, 2016 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT
Wed., Aug. 24, 2016 4:00 PM to 11:59 PM EDT
Thu., Aug. 25, 2016 12:00 AM to 11:55 AM EDT
James White Conference Call Transcript
Q: Welcome to New England. Were you surprised when you got the call?
JW: I was surprised. I’m just excited though, sitting here with my family all smiles, just hoping I would get an opportunity to play in the National Football League.
Q: The number that really jumps off the page initially is the lack of fumbles, the ball security. How big of a point of pride is that for you?
JW: It’s very important for any running back. Ball security is job security. If you want to be on a football team, you have to hold on to the football.
Q: What did you know about the Patriots before you got the call? What were your preconceived ideas?
JW: Great organization. Very team oriented, hardworking guys. They’re disciplined and they have to come ready to play each day of the week.
Q: How much do you know about the group of running backs that are up here – guys like Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden?
JW: They’re great running backs. [They’re] all guys that have had success in the NFL and I’m excited to get a chance to learn from them.
Q: What was your contact with the Patriots like throughout the process?
Q: Do you enjoy catching the ball out of the backfield and running in the open field?
JW: Yes, I like do anything. Anything the coach asks me to do, I’m going to try to do it to the best of my ability.
Q: I know you’re from Ft. Lauderdale, but did you learn to be a cold weather back?
JW: Yes, I did. Playing at Wisconsin, it’s pretty cold as well. Even in any team in the NFL, you’re going to play in the cold at some point, so you have to be mentally and physically prepared for that.
Q: Tell us something we don’t know about Russell Wilson.
JW: I’m sure you know everything about Russell Wilson by now. He’s a great football player, great guy and great guy to be around.
Q: Do you have any connections to any players on the Patriots?
JW: No, I don’t believe so.
Q: I know it wasn’t really until your senior year that you were given an opportunity to start at Wisconsin. How difficult was it to bide your time and wait for that opportunity?
JW: It wasn’t that difficult. I just played my role on the team. Something I have to do once I get to this organization is play my role. Wherever the coach puts me, I’m going to go out there, whether it’s special teams or offense or whatever they want me to do, I’m going to go out there and do everything I can to help the team, just like I did at Wisconsin.
Q: You have a lot of kick return experience. Is that a position you like to be in?
JW: It doesn’t matter. I like doing it. If the coach happens to give me the opportunity, like I said, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I’m going to go out there and try to create a play for the team.
Q: When you go into Ian’s Pizza in Madison, what’s your slice of choice?
JW: I don’t know. I don’t really eat there too much.
Q: Do you foresee yourself as an every down back in the NFL?
JW: Only time will tell. Like I said, I'm going to go out there and take it day by day and just try to become a better player each and every day.
Q: The way the running back position has evolved in the NFL, is all purpose yards really more the yardstick they’re looking for?
JW: Oh for sure. You have to be very versatile in today’s game. Like I said, you have to continue to work at all aspects so you can be a better overall player.
Q: Is it exciting to think about playing in the backfield with Tom Brady?
JW: Yes, very exciting. One of the greatest quarterbacks of all time – to learn from him, that would definitely be something special.
Q: Are you familiar with guys like Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk who were pretty good pass catching backs here, or is there anyone else in the league that maybe you try to model you game after?
JW: I’m very familiar with those guys. I don’t too much model my game after anybody. I just try to go out there and be the best player I can be each and every day. But I’ve definitely watched those guys and they had a lot of success in the Patriots organization.
Q: Do you have a favorite running back of all time?
JW: All time? My favorite running back of all time would be Brian Westbrook. He’s a guy that was very versatile – could catch the ball out of the backfield, and do whatever the team wanted him to do, so that’s a guy I modeled my game after.
Q: Going into last year you had caught 32 passes and you had 39 receptions last year. What changed in how they used you in the offense? Why so many more passes caught out of the backfield?
Q: You also played with Giovani Bernard in high school. With that experience sharing time with another star player, a situation you’re going to go into again, what are your thoughts on learning but competing at the same time?
JW: I like it. Competition brings out the best in everybody. If you compete with the best, you’re going to eventually be the best. Compete with those guys, learn from one another, and I think it lets the offense be a lot more explosive having fresh guys on the field while the defense [inaudible].
Q: You said you have a new offensive coordinator who wanted to include the running backs in the passing game more. What’s the acclimation process like and what’s the learning curve for a running back?
JW: Just knowing what everyone is doing on the field, knowing what the receivers are doing because you could be in that position, whether it’s the slot or out wide. Just knowing what everybody is doing on the field, so if you’re if you’re put in that position, you already know what to do.
Q: Anything physically?
JW: Definitely. Learning more routes, building my route tree, being able to run different things and create mismatches.
Q: Have you been to the Boston area at all?
JW: My aunt actually lives in Attleboro [Massachusetts], so I’ve been there once or twice, so I’m a little familiar with the area.
Q: What’s your aunt’s name?
JW: Desiree McNeil. Read