Henderson coming back slowly

ATHENS – When Mikey Henderson takes the field in Jacksonville Saturday it will be his second time playing this season. It's been a long time since the redshirt freshman suffered a broken ankle in August. Now he looks to climb back into the depth chart in the secondary.

"We are not counting him out," said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt in late August after Mikey Henderson suffered the injury. While Henderson has been out recuperating from the injury, his fellow redshirt freshmen classmates have been on the field playing.

"It was difficult," said Henderson after a long breath. "After going through camp I thought I was doing well – then the injury. Now I feel like I'm finally trying to get back on track."

"He's missed a lot of time. I am pleased with how quickly he came back. He was able to give us reps on special teams against Arkansas. I think he is getting more confident," said Secondary Coach Willie Martinez. "It's encouraging to see his progress."

Getting back on track likely means the Buford native will start back on special teams and will fight to get back up playing time in the secondary. Likely he is positioning himself for spring 2005's cornerback competitions.

"As far as getting reps on defense at this point in time I don't think he'll be in the mix that much right now," said Martinez. "What he needs to do right now is help up contribute on special teams."

"It really doesn't matter where I am right now. I am going to try my hardest. I think realistically (at this point in the season) special teams is the way to start getting back to where I want to be," Henderson said.

"He had a rough injury," said secondary teammate Demario Minter. "He came back faster than I thought he would. One day I saw him doing little exercises on the side of the field and the next day he was back on the field in full pads."

There was little surprise when Henderson was redshirted last season. Georgia was full of depth at cornerback and he was undersized. Still, Henderson had to cope with sitting out.

"I had to get redshirting out of my system," said Henderson.

Another issue Henderson has been forced to deal with is his size. At 5-10 160 pounds, Henderson is Georgia's smallest player.

"I have known for a long time that it's been a ‘problem'. I can play football, but if my size is holding me back, then I have to do everything I can to make that problem go away."

Henderson "seems" bigger than when he first arrived on campus in 2003. His overwhelming strength is his speed. It's something that comes natural to him.

"My speed is an advantage. You can't teach speed. Speed is something that you have. It allows me to make plays and be in the right space all of the time," he said.

Speed, however, can get a player only so far, and Henderson understands that and thinks he still has a ways to go in building up his physical prowess.

"Football is not all about speed. It is a physical game. When the time to be physical comes my way it's like: How am I going to hold up?"

"I think a lot of people underestimate him because of his size," said Minter. "His abilities are great; he pays like he is 6-5. He's got good ball skills and he is quick like a cat."

"His size is something he is working on and is something he is going to have to continue to work on," said Martinez. "He can be bigger with our weight training program. The positive thing for Mikey is that he has the confidence of the coaching staff."

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