Monday, July 21, 2014

In The Dog Pen: Exclusive Interview with Terrier color analyst Thom Henson

Just as we had the opportunity to ask a few questions to the Voice of the Terriers, Mark Hauser, his partner in the booth, color analyst of fifteen years Thom Henson came "In The Dog Pen" to give his insights on some topics that many Terrier fans are wondering about this time of year.

To begin, however, he was asked if his work to bring his alma mater to the airwaves is his dream job. He responded:
"I’ve got a great thing going. The ability to be a part of Wofford athletics while also working in the alumni/parents office for the college is a great gig. It’s great to travel to road games and be able to interact with Wofford alums and parents then broadcast the game. When I first got started in this in 1999 (and was very bad), I made a deal with my wife that I would only do the radio job as long as it was fun. It’s still fun…a lot of fun. It helps working with quality coaches, players, and the best play by play guy in the business. Winning championships doesn’t hurt either."
We also inquired about what the biggest piece of advice Henson, who once worked in admissions at Wofford, would dispense to incoming freshmen, to which he answered:
"Enjoy the best four years of your life. Don’t be afraid to meet new people and get involved in new activities. Talk to your professors and get to know them. Go to them when you need help. Get to know the staff. A lot of them probably graduated from the school you are attending and have great insight. Remember why you are there though…to get an education. Take advantage of opportunities for internships and mentoring. Get involved and stay involved."
The following are his answers to five questions dealing with the football program:

As an analyst, who did you notice as an emerging talent for the Terriers last year, one that could make a difference in seasons to come? 

Henson: On offense, I can’t wait to see what Nick Colvin does this year. I really was impressed with him last year and think he has a chance to be a difference maker. On defense, I think Boston Bryant is the next in our long line of dominate linemen. The key for both of these players and all of our young players is to continue to work and get better.

Your broadcast partner Mark Hauser said that he had no problem with scheduling one non-Division I opponent per season. Do you agree with him on this topic, and what is your stance on having two FBS opponents on the 2015 schedule? 

Henson: I’m fine with a non D-I if we are playing an FBS team. If there isn’t an FBS team on the schedule, then I don’t think we should play a non-DI. I’m fine with the two FBS approach as long as it is not two from the Big 5 conferences. Clemson is an easy trip in 2015 and therefore relatively low-cost. The opportunity to play Idaho is great. They’re a low level FBS that gives us a chance to get some exposure in a different part of the country.

In your opinion, who needs to step up for the Terriers to once again regain a top spot in this new SoCon? 

Henson: Easy answer…but everyone. All the players, coaches, support staff, radio…we’ve gotten used to winning and sometimes that means you relax. You can’t do that. The bullseye is firmly on our backs and has been for years. You have to embrace that and use it to drive you. I would love to see more consistent play from the QBs this year. We have to be able to run the ball with our QB to be a dynamic offense. Also, the O-line will be young, but the talent is there. I know they are working hard this summer and absolutely trust Coach Nash. We are thin at LB, but I think the strength of our D-line will help those guys as we progress throughout the season.

Which of the new SoCon members, in your opinion, poses as the biggest challenge in future seasons for the Terriers? 

Henson: All due respect to VMI and ETSU, but it has to be Mercer. Bobby Lamb has won in this league before and understands what it takes. They’ve got great facilities, a fan base that has been starved for football and an administration committed to winning. Also, don’t forget they have the state of Georgia as their backyard, so recruiting should be fun for them.

Apart from Georgia Tech, who do you feel will be our toughest opponent this season? 

Henson: Chattanooga. That defense is nasty and they seem to have figured things out. I think they have a huge chip on their shoulders too. Furman and Samford will not be easy either.

Additionally, he fielded a pair of basketball-related inquiries:

Which of the incoming freshmen do you see as most promising to our future? 

Henson: I’m really excited about all of them. They have to learn our system and our staff’s way of doing things, but these guys can play and want to win. To get Derrick Brooks and Cameron Jackson early was big. I think both of them will play and contribute. Larry McKnight was a great spring addition. He’s a thick guy who will get after it. Don’t forget Ryan Sawvell has transferred in from Evansville and will be able to contribute at some point. I absolutely love what Mike Young and staff have brought in.

Do you feel that the attention brought from last year's title season will affect the team's play?

Henson: They will be affected. They are going to be hungrier. They got their taste and they want another one. I really think this team is loose enough to be relaxed, but driven enough to put in the work required. I’m most looking forward to seeing this team on the road. There’s nothing like going in to someone else’s arena and having them down double digits at the second media timeout. This team will have that chance if they continue to work hard, develop the chemistry and listen to the coaches.

Wofford alum Thom Henson joins Mark Hauser in the booth to call Terrier Football and Men’s Basketball on radio on the Wofford/IMG Sports Network (WOLI in Spartanburg at 105.7-FM and 910-AM). Games will also be streamed online this season at Fans can also listen on their handhelds by downloading the TuneIn Radio app. Wofford radio audio will also be streamed as part of TerrierVision and SoCon All-Access video webcasts for all home football and men’s basketball games this season.

I'd like to extend a huge thanks to Thom for his participation in this interview, and I hope that you will share our excitement for the upcoming Terrier athletic season.

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