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Big Ten notebook: Henry back — in all positions — for Purdue

BY MOLLY IRENE OLMSTEAD | NOVEMBER 07, 2012 6:30 AM

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Rob Henry is finally healthy, and that’s dangerous for the Hawkeyes.

The versatile Boilermaker tore his ACL prior to the 2011 season, and he has suffered from unrelenting swelling throughout his recovery, Purdue head coach Danny Hope said.

But Henry is back. He had 5 receptions for 54 yards against Penn State last week, including a 22-yard pass that was the second-longest thrown by quarterback Steven Bench.

Hope said Henry’s return to the field gives his offense an aspect of size that the rest of the athletes lack.

“Rob’s finally healthy — that’s a great thing for a football team. He is one of our top athletes, very fast, very skilled, and he has the size,” the head coach said. “A lot of our best skilled players are average at best, size-wise. He’s very lean but very strong.”

Henry stands 6-2 and around 208 pounds. He’s at least two inches taller than the other wide receivers on the two-deep. And he plays every position very physically and aggressively, Hope said.

The all-around player can play basically every other position on the field.

“Right now, he can do it all for us. He catches passes, he scores, we put him in the backfield some, and he does a good job running with the football,” Hope said. “He has enough speed to get on the outside and the physicality to run between the tackles. He’s done a good job around the perimeter as a blocker … He’s also taken snaps behind the center. He’s taken snaps at the quarterback position.”

Hope said his team isn’t surprised at Henry’s 5 receptions last week and at his versatility in every aspect of the game. His seemingly sudden emergence from nowhere only came about because he was battling injury.

“He’s only been getting ready from a confidence standpoint and reduction of swelling standpoint for the last three to four ball games,” the head coach said.

O’Brien uninterested in postseason matters

The Nittany Lions are ineligible for the postseason, and will be for years, even though Penn State is tied for second place in the Big Ten.

But head coach Bill O’Brien said he thought about success in terms of postseason accolades, because he thinks it could affect his players’ focus and intensity.

“I really haven’t [thought about being bowl ineligible], and if I ever sensed anything, I tried to nip it in the bud as soon as possible,” the head coach said. “But this is one thing that impresses me about this football team —that they come out to practice every single day, and they practice hard.”

O’Brien also said he hasn’t even thought about postseason accolades for individual players, either, even though quarterback Matt McGloin has a realistic shot of making an All-Big Ten team.

“I’m focused on Nebraska,” O’Brien said. “After the season, I’ll read who is on the all-conference team, but right now, I’m just focused on the opponent.”

Wolverines still succeed without Denard

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said it was a last-minute decision on whether to play quarterback Denard Robinson against Minnesota on Nov. 3.

The head coach said he wasn’t sure if withholding his status from the Gophers gave the Wolverines an advantage or not.

Hoke elected to play Devin Gardner behind center, and the Wolverines won, 35-13.

“It was a game-day decision as much as anything else to see how much [Robinson] would could around,” Hoke said. “I don’t know [if it affected Minnesota]. I think our offense is our offense.”


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