When Chas Henry was throwing the football around at practice this week, he got a few odd looks from his teammates.
“Some of them didn’t know that I could throw or anything,” said the Florida punter, who played quarterback at East Paulding High in Dallas, Ga. “A couple of the (offensive) linemen were like ‘You’re a quarterback?” I’m like ‘Yeah, I was in high school,’ so that’s kind of funny to see that and hear that.”
This week, Henry will also serve as the team’s No. 3 quarterback behind starter Tim Tebow and backup John Brantley. The odds are slim that Henry will take any snaps from Maurkice Pouncey on Saturday against Florida State and that is just the way he and the Gator Nation like it.
“Hopefully, we don’t have to get to that,” Henry said. “This is like a whole worst-case scenario. Probably everyone in the stadium never wants to see me go in at quarterback and I’d like (to not see) that, too. We want to keep Tim (Tebow) and (John) Brantley healthy.”
Henry, who has been moved into the role due to the suspension of third-string signalcaller Cameron Newton, hasn’t just booted footballs at practice since coming to Gainesville.
“The coaches have always wanted me to keeping throwing ever since I got here,” Henry said. “They wanted me to keep my arm loose. I’m just learning the offense now since about (this past) Saturday or Sunday. Just coming in and going to meetings and just trying to learn the basic package.”
Punting the football is what Henry does best. He is one of the 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award and his 42.5-yard average is third best in the SEC.
Henry has meant a lot in Florida’s efforts to win the field-position battle. He has had 17 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, nine more than he had all of last season. The sophomore has also boomed 11 punts for 50 yards or more this season and has produced a career-long of 60 yards on two occasions
If for some reason he takes a snap on Saturday, Chas Henry knows his teammates have his back. “It’s a real tight-knit family that we have,” he said. “There’s been a lot of support.”