Like quite a few returning starters who failed to impress the new coaching staff in Miami's winter workouts, Seantrel Henderson began the spring listed with the second string. Unlike most of his fellow demotions, the former mega-recruit and freshman All-American is going to finish with the second string, too, behind unheralded classmate Malcolm Bunche:
… Bunche — now a redshirt freshman listed at 6-7 and 328 pounds — is not playing next to rising sophomore All-American Henderson. He's playing ahead of him.
Henderson (6-8 and 345 pounds), who will be idled by an undisclosed injury Saturday for the spring game, will end the spring as the backup.
Golden said he sees Bunche remaining at left tackle.
"You don't mess around with that position," he said. "If they're over there, it's because they have the tools to do that. That's the one position on the offensive line, other than center, that you want to make sure you have the right guy there."
At no point since Golden stepped on campus last December has Henderson, a ten-game starter in 2010 and arguably the most hyped offensive line recruit of the last decade before his late defection from USC last summer, seemed like the right guy. He was forced to fight for his job and, for now, has apparently lost the fight. (When Golden talked about starting "the five best" up front, he mentioned three other names — guards Harland Gunn and Brandon Linder and center Shane McDermott — in addition to Bunche, All-ACC guard Brandon Washington and Jermaine Johnson, the current starter at right tackle, leaving Henderson out of even the top six.) Already Golden has had to put the kibosh on transfer rumors, and even then has remained conspicuously silent on multiple reports that Henderson will be suspended for the season opener at Maryland for a mysterious offense.
As his initial depth chart proved, Golden is not above demoting anyone for motivation/mind games purposes, especially if they're already in the doghouse for one reason or another. But virtually all of the other 'Canes who fond themselves in the same position at the start of the spring — Gunn, quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris, receivers LaRon Byrd and Travis Benjamin, safety Ray Ray Armstrong — had worked their way back to the top of the depth chart by the end of the first scrimmage, after which Golden said, "I want the depth chart to reflect performance, not potential. A lot of coaches get fired based on waiting for someone with potential to develop." He didn't mention anyone by name, but heading into the summer, the '2' next to Henderson's name says enough.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.