The preseason award watch lists keep rolling out, and Wisconsin tailback James White was included in the most recent one. White was one of 40 players selected to the Walter Camp Foundation’s preseason watch list for their annual award, which goes to the nation’s top player.
While White, a sophomore, undoubtedly deserves to be on the list, many Badger fans and media types were puzzled about the list’s omission of fellow Wisconsin back Montee Ball. Although White led the team in rushing in 2010 with 1,052 yards, Ball was arguably the better player during the second half of the season, which he capped off with a 132-yard, one touchdown performance in the Rose Bowl against one of the best defenses in college football.
This isn’t to discredit White, who was nothing short of spectacular in his rookie season, but it brings up an interesting question: who will be more valuable for the Badgers in 2011? Ball will consistently get at least three or four yards and wear teams out with his bruising running style, but White’s elusiveness in space is unrivaled.
I’ll cop out and say I’m glad to have both backs, and I’m sure offensive coordinator Paul Chryst would tell you the same thing. Having two players that compliment each other so well will allow Chryst the luxury of taking advantage of the opposing defense’s weaknesses and will also prevent one back from becoming fatigued from overuse.