By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Ryan White's job description could read: part football player, part actor.
As a member of the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad, the former Auburn defensive back portrays upcoming opponents, just like a scout teamer in college.
"Whichever team we're playing, I take on the best DB role, and try to mimic as best as I can," White said. "Last week, when we had the Packers I took on Micah Hyde, in the nickel position. They aimed to single him out the most. They said he was their best player. So they pretty much based the offense around that and ran a lot of option routes off what he did."
White's impersonation must have been effective. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns in Atlanta's 44-21 win over Green Bay.
"Last game in the Dome," White said. "We feel like we took it out the right way. We're definitely not finished and we want to finish it the right way."
The Falcons will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Houston.
"We definitely have everything we need here to win it," White said. "It's not far-fetched for us to say that we're going to win it. We know the opponent that we're playing. We know what their caliber is and what they're capable of, but we've got a great team here in Atlanta."
For White, who turned 25 this week, to get to play in the big game, the Falcons would need to activate him to the 53-man roster.
"My fingers are definitely crossed," he said. "That would be a great late birthday present to me."
Undrafted in 2014, White participated in training camp and played in preseason games for Green Bay in 2014-2015. He signed with the Falcons in 2016, making the 10-man practice squad for the first time. If he is called up, the Super Bowl would be his NFL debut.
"Still fighting to get to that," he said. "It's all about opportunities and what a team needs at the moment. Very confident in my abilities. I know what I can do and coaches know what I can do as well, so hopefully going into the offseason, we'll see what I can do.
"It's been up and down but I accept my challenges, trials and tribulations," White said. "Definitely tested my love for the game. I'm still here. Still fighting. They know I love it so I'm going to ride this thing out."
As a freshman in 2010, White helped Auburn win an SEC Championship and a national championship. As a senior in 2013, he won another conference crown and came within seconds of a second national title.
"I went from a boy to a man," White said. "Saw the ups and the downs of college football, being on one of the greatest teams ever to come through Auburn, and being on one of the best comeback teams in NCAA history. I'm thankful for all of them."
Another former Tiger teammate, Josh Harris, is Atlanta's long snapper. White, who served as Auburn's holder from 2011-2013, is confident that, if called on with the Super Bowl on the line, he could receive a snap from Harris and place it for Falcons' kicker Matt Bryant.
"Definitely," White said. "That doesn't go away. It's just like riding a bike."
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer