Countdown to camp: New WR coach 

July, 12, 2012
7/12/12
7:00
AM ET
GeauxTigerNation writers David Helman and Gary Laney break down the competitions, issues and talking points of LSU's August camp. Players report to campus Aug. 1 and we'll have a preview segment every weekday in July leading up to the day the players report:

When you look for the reasons why Adam Henry was a good fit to replace Billy Gonzales as LSU's wide receiver coach last February, it's not hard to come up with a long list.

Consider these:

  • As a former player (1990-93) and assistant coach at McNeese State (1997-2006) and, briefly, as a member of the New Orleans Saints, Henry has strong roots in the state. In that time, he's built relationships around Louisiana that make him an effective recruiter of in-state athletes for the Tigers.
  • As a native of Beaumont, Texas, Henry's roots are in what's likely going to be a growth area for Tigers recruiting, Southeast Texas. Henry came to McNeese from Beaumont's Kelly High and, when McNeese brought him back as an assistant coach, he was a key figure in maintaining a pipeline of players from the Beaumont and Houston areas for the Cowboys. This is a different level of recruiting, but the relationships he built as recruiter back then remain relevant at his current job. LSU may look to expand its Texas recruiting with Texas A&M bringing the Lone Star State into the SEC footprint.
  • As a former assistant coach for the Oakland Raiders (2007-2011), he brings an NFL pedigree to a school where it carries a lot of weight. At a program where most of the players you recruit have pro aspirations, Henry's background as a pro player and coach is a plus.

Henry is already getting rave reviews on the recruiting trail -- he's been involved with some of the top players in what's rounding into another quality class for LSU -- but the big question is, does any of this mean he'll be effective at coaching the Tigers' wideouts?

LSU has plenty of issues at the position. With Rueben Randle having moved on to the NFL, the Tigers are trying to replace their most productive receiver and their top returning pass-catcher, Odell Beckham, Jr., is just a sophomore.

And Henry will have the challenge of trying to increase the production of Russell Shepard, who is coming off the least-productive season in what's been an underwhelming career to this point.

The good news for LSU fans is Henry coached some of the most prolific wide receivers in McNeese history and was known for the precision with which he got the Cowboys' pass catchers to play with.

That looks nice on his resume, but it's not the SEC and in the NFL, he coached tight ends. So the question remains, is he the coach that will make the young LSU receivers productive?
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