Saturday, 26 March 2011

Henderson feeling good about slimmer figure

Hurricanes OL Seantrel Henderson could easily be one of the people giving testimonials on one of those infomercials for rapid weight-loss.

After all, the 6-foot-8 sophomore is a svelte 345 pounds these days, 40 pounds lighter than he says he was when he arrived on campus as a freshman last August and about 30 lighter than during last season.

“He’s in the 340s now and he was probably close to 380 when he came back in January,” coach Al Golden proudly noted before Saturday’s practice, UM’s sixth this spring.

Henderson’s weight-loss hasn’t been the result of any products hocked on late-night TV, though. 

“Just offseason workouts, running hard and working out,” Henderson said. “I haven’t really gotten on a meal plan. I’ve just been eating better than I was and less than I was.”

Henderson said he still occasionally indulges in some fast food. But there’s less of an urge knowing how the weight he’s lost has helped on the field this spring.

“I just feel like I’m moving better,” he said. “I don’t get tired as easy as I used to.”

There have been reports in the past few weeks of Henderson’s unhappiness at Miami and that he has been suspended for the season opener for breaking team rules.

Golden and Henderson issued separate statements saying he had no intention of transferring and hadn’t considered the idea.

Golden has not confirmed or denied Henderson’s suspension, though. When Henderson was asked Saturday about reports of his suspension, Henderson answered, “I really don’t speak on rumors.”

Of remaining at UM, he noted, “I’ve always wanted to stay. It’s always been like that ever since I made my decision [to sign].”

Golden points to Henderson’s weight loss and progress during practices – he has moved up from second-team left tackle on the pre-spring depth chart to co-No. 1 with Malcolm Bunche – as evidence, “that’s not a young man that’s despondent or disheartened or disenchanted.”

“That’s a young man that’s working,” Golden continued. “When you watch him play, he loves football. The other day, [Tommy] Streeter made a great catch and [Seantrel] ran down there [to congratulate him]. That’s great for our program that we have guys like that. All I would say to you is that I’m excited about him.”

Henderson, who started the final eight games of the regular season at right tackle last year, was assumed to be the starting left tackle with Orlando Franklin’s departure. Golden has made it a point that no player has a starting spot secured.

“That’s fine with me. When I first got here, I had to compete to get a spot,” said Henderson, who supplanted then-starter Joel Figueroa after the Pittsburgh game last season. “So you’ve got to compete regardless. From here until when the season starts, we’re going to be competing.”

Henderson, who played left tackle in high school, said he’s happy about moving back to that side.

“I’m a little rusty, I believe, but I’m going to get back into it,” he said. 

Ultimately, he will be either Jacory Harris’ or Stephen Morris’ top bodyguard this fall.

“The expectations with him are almost unrealistically high,” Golden said. “But if he just learns to follow the process, doesn’t have the ups and downs, and can ignore [the media] and outside expectations, he’s going to be a really good player.

“We’re excited about him. He’s a really good kid. He’s the kind of kid that’s real easy to like. That’s why his teammates think of him so highly.”

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