Thursday, November 6, 2008
BCS stakes high as TCU visits unbeaten Utah tonight ~Houston Chronicle
MWC: Teams battling for bowls ~Salt Lake City Tribune
TCU at Utah in BCS elimination game ~FWST
Top 25 Preview Capsules ~Herald Tribune
Week 11: TCU at Utah ~Athlon
Wyoming head football coach Joe Glenn and quarterback Karsten Sween were reprimanded by the Mountain West Conference on Wednesday for their comments critical of TCU linebacker Robert Henson after the Horned Frogs’ 54-7 win over the Cowboys on Oct. 25.
The conference issued a statement saying the comments violated the conference's sportsmanship rules.
Henson hit Sween with his shoulder just as Sween was sliding, earning a personal foul while knocking Sween out of the game with a concussion in the third quarter. Afterward, both Glenn and Sween said the hit was a “cheap shot.”
TCU coach Gary Patterson said after reviewing the film that it did not look like a cheap shot.
“We hope that Karsten is OK,” Patterson said the day after the game. “Nobody that plays the game wants anybody to get hurt. You hate to see anything like that happen.”
— Mercedes Mayer, Star Telegram
BY MERCEDES MAYER
If you’ve ever wondered how Robert Henson manages to play with such aggression and abandon every single down, look to March 17, 1997.
Eleven-year-old Henson, the oldest child in a single-mother household, woke up around 5:30 that morning and started rummaging through the refrigerator.
As he went to check on his mom and sister, he heard a loud bang near the front door.
Smoke ensued. Confusion. Henson ran around the house and got his mother and sister out safely.
But the front of the house was engulfed in flames. That’s where his 10-year-old brother, Nicholas Sterling, slept.
Henson couldn’t reach him. Eleven years later, he often relives the day his little brother died.
"I hate letting people down, and I feel like I let him down," Henson said. "I’m just now coming to grips with that and learning I can’t control everything."
What Henson can control is his three hours or so on the football field.
Henson, a senior linebacker at TCU, will dig into his innermost soul and think about "pretty much everything I’ve been through and everything that I felt like I couldn’t do anything about."
"For about three hours, none of that exists, and I can use that aggression to do something positive," he said.
Henson took care of Nicholas and his sister, Tiffany, while his mom worked at a nursing home to support the family. They lived in a rough neighborhood in Longview and didn’t have much, so the $20 or so a day Robert earned while working at a tire shop helped the family more than he could imagine.
"Rudy," as the neighborhood kids called Nicholas, wasn’t as athletic as everybody else, but he loved to play football. He’s the main reason Henson pursued football instead of baseball, his first love.
"I felt like, 'I’m not going to let you down in this,’ " he said, thinking of Nicholas.
And when things seemingly couldn’t get any worse, just before Henson’s redshirt freshman season, 14-year-old Tiffany was assaulted, shot nine times and left for dead. Henson was by her side, trying to control what he could, which was supporting his family while Tiffany made a full recovery.
Tiffany and Nicholas provide double motivation for Henson — the emotional leader and second-leading tackler (57, with nine tackles for loss and two interceptions) on the nation’s second-ranked defense (214.5 yards per game).
Henson’s struggles are not a distant memory. They are who he is. Family is who he is, which is part of the reason he married Sarah Jakes this past summer.
"Robert’s perseverance is one of the reasons that I fell so in love with him," Sarah said. "Once he has his mind set, not much can stop him. Whether on the field or tackling life issues, once he zeroes in, he is unstoppable."
Henson often wonders if Nicholas would have been playing football alongside him. A tattoo on his right arm, with "Rudy" written above a cross, honors his brother. Dog tags bearing Sarah’s and Tiffany’s names hang from his neck on game day.
It all reminds Henson of what he’s been through and how far he’s come.
"I don’t have any more respect for anybody than I do for Robert in terms of a person who’s worked from less to get where he’s gotten to," said John Berry, the associate head coach at Longview High School who coached Henson. "He’s had every kind of problem that you can imagine. The story that’s there with Robert fleshes out if you knew where Robert came from and how that’s really a one-in-a-million chance.
"He’s the lottery winner-type guy, but he didn’t do it off of luck, he did it off of not giving up."
Robert Henson has been a model of consistency over his four years, but this is the first year he’s been a full-time starter. In his first three years, Henson started four of the 38 games he played in.
Year Tckl TFL (yds) Sacks (yds) INTs FR FF
2005 69 8.5 (36) 2.0 (15) 0 1 0
2006 64 7.5 (26) 1.5 (10) 0 1 2
2007 66 2.0 (5) 0 2 0 0
2008 57 9.0 (30) 1.0 (10) 2 0 1
"He definitely takes the field with a different swagger than a lot of people. He comes out every game — it’s not just big games — and you can definitely tell he’s had something happen because he plays like every down is his last."
~TCU senior linebacker Jason Phillips
What his coach is saying
"He really has become the emotional leader, not only of the defense, but I’m not sure if he’s not the emotional leader of the whole team."
~TCU coach Gary Patterson