Ready for the big leagues

Only Alex Henery can say that he'll probably be the first player taken at his position in the upcoming NFL Draft. Well, he can say it, but he never would. As unassuming now as he was during his Husker career, Henery is getting ready for the next step. Enjoy this Q&A with the Huskers' greatest kicker, ever.

Q: What was Senior Bowl like for you?

A: It was good. It was an intense week, just going down there and showing what I could do. It was fun. I got better, and that's all that matters

Q: why didn't you kick any field goals?

A: We were switching off on that. The first one he got a field goal. They ended up scoring, and I kicked an extra point. And then he got to kick a field goal the next time. So, that's just kind of how it worked out.

Q: What has this experience has been like for you? Have you already seen a lot of interest from pro teams?

A: Well, the Senior Bowl was just kind of them getting to know you, your family and just learning what kind of person you are, the character you have and all that. When the combine rolls around, then it will probably be a better idea of what teams are really interested in you. Right now it's kind of hard to tell.

Q: How many teams have contacted you or that you talked so far?

A: Down there it was anywhere from 10 to 15 teams. But it was a lot of questionnaires and stuff like that. Teams don't really like to show what they are going to do, so it's hard to tell.

Q: Were you pretty curious how this stuff was going to go, what it was going to be like and all that?

A: Yeah, it's something new, so you have questions. It's interesting. It's a fun thing to go through, I guess. The Senior Bowl Stuff is pretty basic, asking about the family, if I have gotten in trouble and all that.

Q: It would seem to me that the biggest adjustment you would have to make going through all this is that you don't have Brett Maher holding and P.J. Mangieri snapping the ball. How tough is that when you don't have guys feeding you the ball who you have become so comfortable with?

A: It's a big thing, but it's just something you have to work with the guy who is holding with you down there. You just have to work on timing, so things go well in the game.

Q: Who was holding for you down there?

A: Austin Pettis. He's a receiver from Boise State

Q: How did he do?

A: He did OK

Q: I would imagine that when it comes to the kick, everyone talks about technique. But if those two guys aren't doing their job, that being the snapper and holder, the rest doesn't matter.

A: Nope, not really. That's a big factor in the kick. The holder has to get a ball in a position where they can put it on the ground quickly. And the kicker needs to have the ball the way they like it. So, it all works together.

Q: You seem to take everything as it goes. You don't let it become more than what it is. Would that be accurate for you, even when it comes to all this pre-Draft stuff?

A: Yeah, that's just kind of how I approach things. You don't want to over think stuff or worry about stuff. It will get to you if you let it. Whatever happens, happens and you just go from there.

Q: With the kind of distance you showed at Nebraska, it's easy to say that if you can kick a 57-yard field goal to win a game, that translates pretty well to the NFL. There isn't a system. If you can kick it, you can kick it. It would seem that there really isn't anything you have to change for the league, which you can't say for most any other position.

A: There's not too much change, really. You just do what you have been doing the whole time. Just keep working with it. I'm always trying new things out, but I don't change too much really.

Q: How much have you worked on doing kickoffs from the NFL mark?

A: That's the big thing I have been working on this Spring, just doing that to show I can. That is the biggest question mark they have is that. So, that's what I have been working on to try and get that to where it is a strength of mine.

Q: How do you go about improving that aspect?

A: A lot of technique, getting stuff down, hitting the ball in the right spot and hitting the follow through. It's just little things that enable you to get into a rhythm and kick it farther.

Q: Do you watch Adi at all when it comes to that aspect?

A: I'm a little different than he is. They kind of want it to go higher in the NFL. So, sometimes even if it's going into the end zone, if it's a line drive your coverage might not have the time to get down there. My goal is just to get it higher, so if it goes into the end zone that's OK, but if it doesn't, that's OK too, because the coverage can get down there with enough time.

Q: Is there a big difference in hang time when it comes to kicks and punts?

A: It's not too different, really. It's just making sure that you are consistent with those times.

Q: At this point you have to know you are a draft worth guy, don't you?

A: Well, let's hope. I don't try to convince myself too much of what will happen. So, if it doesn't happen, you aren't really disappointed.

Q: Like that quarterback in the green room waiting to get picked in the first round?

A: Yeah, you don't want to be the one still sitting there when the first round is over.

Q: Is this exciting for you?

A: Yeah, definitely. It's something different. It's not knowing where I will be, where I will go. So, it is interesting to see how this is all going to go in a few months.

Q: You can obviously get drafted anywhere, but would you like to get drafted by a team that plays in a dome?

A: Well, it's easier in a dome, obviously, so yeah, that would be nice. But I really don't care where I kick. Even if you play in a dome for home games, you probably won't for all your games on the road. So, I don't mind either way. I'm not picky.

Q: We saw a year at both the collegiate level and the professional level, where kickers were getting a lot of press, but both the good and the bad. There's no doubt that kickers can make or break a game, and it's at those points where literally the job of being a kicker gets analyzed. Where do you think a kicker has the most success in regard to handling that and just dealing with everything?

A: It's just consistency. If you are going out there and only hitting one out of two, they aren't going to keep you around very long. You need to be a guy that they can depend on to make it most of the time from 45 yards in or around there. If you are missing every other one, it's going to be kind of hard for them to rely on you. And that can get in a kicker's head a lot. That's where the mental part comes in and some kickers can't handle that.

Q: Have you ever experienced a slump?

A: No. I think I recover quick, so I don't let that get to me.

Q: Have you ever missed two kicks in a row?

A: No, I don't think so.

Q: You graduated in construction management, and I know that's something you are obviously interested in. Do you find yourself looking at it as seriously right now, or are you holding back a bit on knowing or believing that you will probably at least get a shot in the NFL?

A: Until that shot in the NFL happens, I am just doing what I like to do, seeing what the field has to offer and exploring that. It's something I enjoy, and there isn't a lot going on right now and a lot of waiting. So, I have time to do both.


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