Burgess Debuts in Style

Whether it was a 68-yard touchdown catch or 29-yard kickoff return, the presence of the redshirt freshman was felt quite strongly against UTEP. Not too bad for a player that told DevilsDigest that he's just looking for his niche on the team.

"I just went out there, and played like I was suppose to play," said Rudy Burgess about his first game in the maroon and gold. "It was a pretty good game for being my first game. A lot of good things came out of it, and it gave me good experience."

The redshirt freshman who had 90 total yards in kick and punt returns, said that he felt no pre-game jitters, and that this fact did worry him. "Before the game I wasn't nervous," he said. "It was probably the first time I felt that way before a game. I thought I was gonna be nervous because the game was at night and the day was so long, but I didn't have any ‘bubble-guts.' (smile). I was actually being nervous for not being nervous."

The lack of nerves could be attributed to the fact that Burgess wasn't going to play much on offense. If the season were to start immediately following spring practice, many would agree that the wide receiver would be a shoe-in to start opposite Derek Hagan. The eventual starter, Terry Richardson, had a solid spring of his own, but more importantly was sizzling all through out fall practice. When Burgess talks about this topic, he seems to take it all in stride. "I have been practicing through my highs and lows," he explained. "The coaches said that the starting position would come down to game week. Terry is a good athlete, and he had a better week than I did. That's why he's the starter."

"I feel like my biggest role will be on special teams," Burgess continued. "I get the offense started with a big kickoff or punt return. That's just as important as catching balls." Burgess gave kudos to his fellow receivers who ran "crisp routes" and looked collectively, albeit for one game, better than the 2003 version. Burgess admitted that he didn't anticipate instant success in his first ever collegiate contest. "I didn't expect to do as well as I did yesterday," he stated. "Going against a different team was good, because it gives you a chance to go against someone else besides your teammates."

Burgess believes that his performance against UTEP could be a stepping-stone to bigger and better games in the future, but he's also cautious about trying to read too much into a season-opening showing. "If I didn't have a strong start, I still think I could play well down the road," he commented. "You see a lot of teams start out undefeated and then fade away down the stretch. It's nice to have a strong start, but I just have to be consistent now and bring it every week."

And at what position does he expect to make the biggest impact? "I want to get the most of both worlds," he exclaimed. "I want to find my niche at wide receiver and find my niche on special teams. Whatever I can do to help the team and make plays, that's where I want to be." On Thursday he was all over the field, and the Sun Devils were better for that…

Sun Devil Source Top Stories