BOWLING GREEN — For the last seven years, Dorian Hendrix had played defense. Nothing but defense.
So when Bowling Green State University football coach Mike Jinks approached Hendrix this past winter about switching to the other side of the ball for his senior season, you might think Hendrix opposed the move.
Bowling Green fullback Dorian Hendrix works on a drill with several other players at practice. Hendrix has moved from defense to offense for the Falcons.
Blade/Jetta Fraser Enlarge
You would be wrong.
“Coach Jinks told me he had been thinking about it for a while, and I told him that if he wanted to make the switch, I was willing to do it,” Hendrix said. “He talked to the staff about it, and the next thing I knew I was getting reps at H-back.”
While the move was based partly on need after the Falcons graduated Hunter Folkertsma and Leonard Skattebo, Jinks said he had noticed the athleticism of the 6-foot-1, 247-pound Hendrix.
“He even played a little quarterback in high school,” Jinks said. “He’s got a decent skill set. To this point, I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of him. He’s going to get a lot of playing time at that position.”
Playing time was what prompted the switch to defense by Hendrix in high school. He was a freshman quarterback at Wayne High School in suburban Dayton, where the starter was a junior by the name of Braxton Miller, so Hendrix switched to linebacker as a sophomore.
“It was a need for our football team, and I was willing to do anything to help our team win games,” Hendrix said. “But it was a great experience.”
The switch obviously worked out for Hendrix, who was a three-year starter for the Warriors and was an All-Ohio choice as a senior in 2013, earning a scholarship to Kentucky.
After redshirting his first year on campus, Hendrix transferred to BG and sat out the 2015 season. He made 11 tackles in 11 games the following year, then fought through injuries to make four tackles in seven games a season ago.
“He has battled the injury bug a little bit,” Jinks said of Hendrix. “But he has a physicalness about him, and I’m fired up about what he brings to the table.”
The biggest adjustment in the switch from defense to offense, according to Hendrix, is getting back to what he called “the smooth and groove” of playing offense.
“There’s a character difference between guys on offense and defense,” he said. “Defensive guys are aggressive and rough and edgy, and offensive guys have to be under control.
“On defense you just fly to the ball. On offense there’s more finesse, where you focus on just doing your job at a high level.”
But Hendrix said there are times where his “defensive” persona helps him on offense.
“When you go in between the guards, I put my head down and try to bring that defensive mentality back,” he said. “We have a little bit of a rivalry with the guys I used to play with, but it has been fun too.”
Hendrix likes the challenge of making that adjustment, and he also is willing to accept the challenge of making the fullback or H-back position an important part of Bowling Green’s offense.
“In this day and age, the fullback position is dying away a little bit,” he admitted. “Now teams are looking for a guy who is more versatile.
“They want someone who can carry the ball, but also someone who can lead block and create holes for the running backs. I think I can do that.”
INJURY UPDATE: Senior CB Robert Jackson absorbed a big hit in practice last week that has kept him out of practice since. The good news, according to Jinks, is that the hit did not lead to a serious injury.
“I think the collision looked a little nastier than the actual outcome,” Jinks said of Jackson, who has an upper leg injury. “I think there’s just bruising, and we’ll have him back prior to the end of spring football.”
HUETTEL LEAVES: Former BG offensive lineman Alex Huettel, who served as a graduate assistant coach on the offensive line, has taken a full-time job as an offensive line coach at Gannon University, a Division II school in Erie, Pa.
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