Burgess Looking to Carry His Weight

No one doubts that currently Rudy Burgess is the best running back on the Sun Devils roster. The questions do arise as to whether the sophomore, eight pounds heavier and all, can carry the load week in and week out. Burgess told Devils Digest that he's tired of the inquiries and anxious to see the answer unfold.

"I hear those questions so much, it's really getting repetitive," said the 5-11 184 Rudy Burgess. "I guess we'll have to wait and see. As a (running backs) group we're feeling real good. We have a lot of good guys that we can rotate. The competition is really good right now and that will make the running game that much better."

Added weight for skill players can be a concern if it hinders their athletic ability. However, in this running back's case it has been only a positive. "I gained eight pounds, and I'm really solid," Burgess stated. "I want to maintain that. I felt a little slow in the beginning of the summer, but now I'm able to carry it and balance it out."

Burgess, who still holds the long jump record for the C.I.F. Southern Section Division VII, went back to his track and filed roots and joined the Sun Devils' team shortly after spring practice. "I did OK for practicing a week," he recalled. "I had some pretty good jumps. I was 8th in a Pac-10 meet, which I think is good for having only one week of practice." He added that this short track and field stint has helped him with his running technique, 40-yard time, and his sprints.

2004 ended for Burgess on a high note to say the least. In the Sun Bowl, Burgess had two late game touchdown catches, including the game winner scored with 43 seconds left. On the day he had 125 yards on only 20 carries, as well as three catches for 64 yards. "That game really sets me up for a great year," he commented. "It's cool finishing on such a high. I was real surprised how well I did in my first year, but I can always improve. I really don't feel much pressure, but more of a drive to get better."

There's a great temptation to have Burgess touch the ball every two or three snaps, whether it be at running back, wide receiver, or as a returner on special teams. Nonetheless, there's obviously a fine line between effectively using this offensive weapon and overusing him in one area, while adversely impacting another. "I'm gonna do based on what I feel in the game," he said. "I'm not gonna try to do too much. We have a lot of new guys that can be the return guys, and I can sit out sometimes and concentrate on offense."

During the 2005 football team commercial, Burgess is seeing carrying a ball up a desert mountain with boulders coming at him. We asked in jest, if this was good preparation for carrying the ball against potent defenses such as LSU and USC. "It was hard running the ball in that commercial, " he claimed. "We had rocks, lose gravel, the hot soil was hard on your feet…but it's gonna be harder later in the season. We'll be ready."

For this desert warrior the 2004 season may have just been a warm-up for perhaps a much better campaign…

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