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Les Miles: Josh Henson is "just a very special guy."


Sunday's Columbia Tribune had a lovely article about Josh Henson and how he came to end up Missouri's new offensive coordinator. It doesn't shed light on his intentions or anything like that -- because right now there is no light in that regard -- but it's a nice feature, and it includes a heck of an endorsement from a pretty good coach.

In 1995, as Henson was starting his redshirt sophomore year, Oklahoma State hired Michigan assistant Les Miles to run the offense. In Henson, Miles discovered the toughness and intelligence he wanted along his offensive line.

"Mentally, he was one of those guys, when you showed him the path, he not only accepted the path but he did it better than you thought he could have done it," said Miles, now LSU's coach, in a phone interview this week. "He knew all the assignments. He knew everybody else's assignments. He had a strength to him that allowed the other guys on that line to play extremely well around him.

"Just a very special guy." […] With former Cowboys quarterback Mike Gundy coordinating his offense, Miles encouraged collaboration from his assistants. Henson played a pivotal role in shaping the game plan, Miles said.

"It was just a matter of time that somebody, if not me, would have promoted him to a spot where he could make those decisions for the staff," Miles said. […]

"He's a great teacher," former MU lineman Jack Meiners said. "As linemen, we really don't care most of the time what coverage the defense was in, but he really tried to make a point to get us to understand safety and linebacker alignments and to know if they're able to blitz based on scheme and positioning. It really helped us."

After a 5-7 season, Henson was not the outside hire for which some Missouri fans clamored, but he brings ideas and influences from other stops along his career, unlike his predecessor, Yost, who spent the previous 17 years working for Pinkel.

"Everyone who sits in this chair," Henson said, "is going to have a different personality of what they do and what they believe in for certain situations at certain times."

As we've been saying for a while now, there is no guarantee that Josh Henson will succeed in the O.C. chair. But while people who wanted change change were going to be unhappy with an internal promotion no matter what, there is a lot to like about Henson and his potential. He's going to need to learn how to transform potential into production rather quickly, but there are plenty of reasons why this hire might work out just fine.