At Alabama, Derrick Henry was the load that wore teams down. In the second half of games, the 247-pound freight train ground down defenders, smashed through tacklers and gobbled up yards.
Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey has seen Henry -- now a rookie in the NFL -- excel late in training camp practices. The coach, however, wants his rookie to start better early in workouts.
"I will say this about Derrick: I don't think he's a fast starter," Mularkey said Thursday, via ESPN. "I've got to talk to him about that tempo period because we've got a bunch of guys up front that are creating things for him and he's not hitting it like I'd like to see him hit it, (like he is) later in the practice.
"I hope that's not the case in games. We need him to be full strength. As soon as we call his number, he needs to hit things better."
The nature of Henry's role as a rookie necessitates Mularkey's urgency. The Heisman Trophy winner will not be slogging through 25-30 carries a game. Instead, he'll be slated to spell starter DeMarco Murray for stretches.
Henry won't get the number of carries that allows him to waste a few downs before he gets his motor humming.
On Friday, Henry got the message.
"He started a little faster today -- actually in the tempo period he hit it," Mularkey said, per The Tennessean. "I talked to him after practice yesterday. Again, I want to make sure I'm not putting guys in position if they're not ready to go. "He said, 'I just didnt understand it well enough. I do now.' I don't think that will be an issue anymore."Added Henry: "Yeah, I know exactly what he was talking about. I definitely wanted to pick it up today, have better intensity and make everyone better around me."