Henderson Ready To Be Big Play Guy

The once green grass on Lane Stadium in Blacksburg was now a sea of gold and blue. Mountaineer fans around the country jumped for joy and ran to the phone to place a call to fellow Mountaineer fanatics. Husbands hugged their wives, and WVU play-by-play voice Tony Caridi counted down the final seconds on the Lane Stadium scoreboard clock.

The 2002 edition of the Gold and Blue football squad had just pulled off one of their biggest wins in recent history by knocking off Virginia Tech's Hokies, 21-18.

One Mountaineer stood on the sideline with mixed emotions. Sophomore wide receiver Miquelle Henderson, who had battled to become one of Rasheed Marshall's go-to-guys, found himself on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Henderson was excited about the huge win, but upset that he was not a more integral part of the victory.

"It's frustrating when you are sitting on the sidelines for the biggest game of the year and you cannot get in" Henderson admits. " I really wanted to play, but there was just nothing I could do."

As quality players often do, Henderson has turned the frustrating night into motivation for the upcoming season. The Mobile, Alabama product has set a goal to once again score a win over Frank Beamer and company and this time number 83 wants to play a part. Last season's leading receiver also hopes to prove that the stable of running backs that receive so much attention are not the only Mountaineers who can be playmakers.

"The running backs are going to be productive, but we need some receivers to step up and make some plays as well" the junior explained. "The more weapons we have, the tougher we will be." Head Coach Rich Rodriguez agrees.

"Our entire wideout crew has to step it up a little" commented the third year coach. "We are just not producing in the passing game and all of the blame cannot be put on the quarterback. If our receiving team can get better, and I think they will, we will be much better as a football team."

Henderson and the other Mountaineer receivers fully realize that this increased productivity will not come without a price. "We just have to work harder" stated the Theodore High School graduate. "We have to give our best effort all of the time and never loaf between plays. We're getting better and better with each practice and if we keep working hard we can be very good."

How good? According to Henderson the sky is the limit. He's looking for a team repeat performance against the Hokies, but the 6-2 wideout is not ready to stop there. When asked about his goals for the season, Henderson smiled and confidently exclaimed, "I want to go undefeated and win the National Championship."

The remaining two weeks of spring practice will be the first step in the grueling process of working toward that goal. And while it may be a long shot, how many people picked Syracuse to win the NCAA basketball championship before the season started?

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