Titans' running backs coach Sylvester Croom spoke to TitansOnline.com's Jim Wyatt this week about everyone's favorite rookie, Derrick Henry.
"From a physical standpoint, his football talent is obvious,’’ Croom said. "But until you go through that rookie year, everything is new to you, from game one to the last game. Everything is new to Derrick and all the rookies, from how to train to how to prepare going into the season. And until you get through the first year, you just don’t know."
Croom -- a former Alabama standout and Crimson Tide coach -- noted that his contacts in Tuscaloosa sent rave reviews about Henry's character and leadership, but Croom says Henry has at least a year left before we truly know what the Titans have in Henry.
"The mental toughness, the mental discipline, how to truly be a professional football player -- that is the key and it will determine how much success he is going to have and how much he’ll be able to help our football team. The talent is there, but until a rookie goes through the first season, he really doesn’t know what it takes to be a pro at this level."
One of my major concerns with the selection of Henry would be how he adjusted to the caliber of his offensive line play. Let's just say the alleys won't be as obvious for Henry in Nashville as they were in Tuscaloosa. He's going to have to be more selective and both physically and mentally quick to succeed as an NFL runner. This is going to bring a bit of an adjustment period.
Luckily for Henry and the Titans, DeMarco Murray is sitting right above the Alabama rookie runner on the depth chart. Murray is a guy that's been around the block a time or two and should be able to help usher Henry into the NFL fray. Croom called Murray a "coach's dream" when speaking to Wyatt, praising his work ethic, leadership and physical traits.
Titans' camp opens on July 29th and the Murray-Henry dynamic will be at the front of everyone's minds. I believe the Titans when they say that Murray will shoulder most of the load, but I'll be interested to see how their tone changes if the season starts heading south.