For a few hours a few weeks ago, everyone figured Scott White had played his last down as a Husky.
Unhappy with his demotion to second-team strongside linebacker, the fifth-year senior had told The Times he would consider leaving the team if he didn't think he could accept being a backup.
The next day, he wasn't at practice.
But the following day, after meeting with coaches, White returned. And ever since, "He took the approach to not talk and just play," said his good friend, guard Stanley Daniels. "He basically just tried to focus on football and staying under the radar."
It paid off Monday when coach Tyrone Willingham announced White would be the team's starting weakside linebacker for the season opener Saturday against San Jose State.
The move came as a bit of a surprise as White had been thought to be playing only behind Dan Howell on the strong side, with Chris Stevens and E.J. Savannah battling at the weak side.
But Willingham said the Huskies had "sprinkled in" using White on the weak side in recent practices. When the coaches gathered after the final scrimmage to form the two-deep lineups, they decided White was one of their three best linebackers.
White, who started 20 games at strongside linebacker the past two seasons, has been off limits to the media since his comments to The Times. But Daniels, who grew up with White in San Diego, said White was thrilled at changing spots.
"He was screaming 'Yes,' he was so happy," Daniels said.
Willingham said the linebacker spots might feature plenty of rotating and possible depth-chart movement this season.
"There is still some shakeup that is going to happen in that group because it's a much more competitive group right now than it has been," he said.
San Jose State's coaching staff features three assistants who have worked for Washington. Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Morton coached UW's offensive line from 1992-98; co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Tom Williams coached UW's linebackers from 1999-2001; and receivers coach Brent Brennan was a graduate assistant who coached tight ends in 1999.
All have been back as opposing coaches since then, however.
"I've been on both sides of that stadium many times," Morton said. "So I won't get lost. I won't take a wrong turn out of the tunnel."
• The only way to see the game Saturday is to be at Husky Stadium. There is no live television for the game, and there will be no replays on Sundays this season for any UW games as there have been in the past. At the moment, only three UW games are guaranteed to be on TV — Oklahoma on Sept. 9 (ABC), Fresno State on Sept.16 (FSN) and the Apple Cup on Nov. 18 (FSN). Others might be picked up later.
• Washington's depth chart included two true freshmen — right guard Ryan Tolar and fullback Paul Homer. But neither is guaranteed to play, Willingham said, while adding that those two aren't the only true freshmen who could see time this season.
• Willingham said he expects all of his starters to be able to play, including cornerback Dashon Goldson, who has been battling an ankle injury.
• Three players are listed as co-starters at tight end — Michael Gottlieb, Robert Lewis and Johnie Kirton. All figure to play.
• Donny Mateaki and Jordan Reffett are listed as co-starters at one defensive tackle spot, a nod mostly to the standout fall camp turned in by Reffett.