Henderson Preparing For UNC

BURKE, Va. --- The changes Lake Braddock's coaching staff has made to its offense for the coming season will help North Carolina pledge Caleb Henderson beyond his senior year.

"This offseason, my coaches installed [UNC's] entire offense," Henderson said. "There's just different terminology, but exact same plays, exact same schemes, exact same ways to block, exact same tempo.

"From my offense last year, it's still a spread, it's still throw the ball all over the place. But the concepts are different, the way we call the plays are different. I wasn't allowed to read the defense last year – a route was tagged and I'd have to throw it. Now that I have the ability to read and see what the defense is doing, I think I'm going to make a few more mistakes – I'm gong to throw a few more picks – but we'll definitely have a lot more explosive plays on the field."

Lake Braddock offensive coordinator Eric Henderson, who is also Caleb's father, wanted to take advantage of his son's arm strength and the deep threats found in its receiving corps.

"Last year, we were a five-wide offense where [Caleb] had to make some quick throws," the elder Henderson said. "This year, we wanted more down the field throws. I think it's more in-line with what North Carolina is doing."

According to Coach Henderson, Lake Braddock's passing concepts are based on Hal Mumme's Air Raid offense, but applied to four- and five-wide receiver sets.

"[Caleb] can still throw the same concepts, but we have multiple formations to throw them out of," Coach Henderson said. "He has about ten concepts down right now, but we can dress it up and do different formations out of them and still throw the same concepts. So the progressions are the same.

"I think it has simplified [Caleb's] reads and made him a faster quarterback, as far as a decision maker goes."

In addition to the air attack, Lake Braddock's offense includes different option plays, designed QB runs, and other gadget plays aimed at highlighting Caleb's mobility.

"He's going to do a little bit of everything," Coach Henderson said. "We don't have a fullback in the program, so tough yardage is going to be his responsibility. He's quick enough to get around the edge and make people miss – I think that creates some dilemmas for people."

In preparation for the extra running, Caleb has shed 12 pounds from his junior season playing weight. At UNC's July camp, he checked in at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds.

"My mobility has definitely gotten a lot better," Caleb said. "I've definitely gotten a little faster."

Early results have been impressive. During Lake Braddock's scrimmage against Manassas (Va.) Osbourn, Henderson rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown, plus threw for 175 yards and another score (notice the run-pass balance – another staple of UNC's offense).

While the current focus is riding this newly installed offense to a state championship this season, the fact that it will benefit him when he arrives at UNC isn't lost on Henderson.

"I definitely think it helps me a lot, just because I've gone at it live," Henderson said. "It might not be the same intensity as Division I college, but there's pretty good football around here. So I'll be repping the stuff I'm going to be playing in, in a couple of years against good competition."

Henderson's most recent visit to UNC occurred in July. Despite having an offer and being committed, he worked out during the Tar Heels' camp.

"I just wanted to throw around with Coach [Blake] Anderson and hang out with him and Coach [Larry] Fedora," Henderson said.

The experience provided Henderson his first opportunity to be coached by Anderson. Henderson describes Anderson's coaching style as a unique combination of intensity with a casual style.

"It's difficult to explain, but it's different from what I'm used to and I like it a lot," Henderson said. "I know he's a hot commodity and might not be there when I get there, but I'm really hoping that he will be so that I'll have a couple years to work with him."

Henderson is aiming to return to Chapel Hill for a couple games this fall, but is unsure which ones. In the meantime, he's looking forward to watching the UNC-South Carolina at home on Aug. 29, which also happens to be his birthday.

"Coach Fedora told me they're going to try to get the ‘W' for my birthday," Henderson said.

Caleb Henderson

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