Burgess Back in the Thick of Things

Projected to be one of ASU's top receivers, Rudy Burgess is starting to live up to the hype surrounding him… and not just as an offensive player. Playing in his senior year and coming back from an injury, Burgess is determined to make this his standout year.

In the 34-13 win over San Diego State, Rudy Burgess had a team-high 52 yards receiving on three catches. "It's great being able to come back out here and work with my team and help them win games," said Burgess after Wednesday night's practice.

Burgess was unable to finish the 2006 season after suffering a calf injury. Claiming to be a more cautious player than his pre-injury self, mentally and physically he has matured as a player since his recovery. "I can't say that I'm at a 100% percent, but I'm at a high enough percent that I can perform and stay on the field for a good amount of time," noted Burgess. "On the field I play a lot smarter and protect myself rather than going out there as a chicken with its head cut off, just recklessly."

In the third quarter of Saturday night's game against San Diego State Burgess caught a 30-yard pass for a touchdown, his first since last season. "I think Rudy was looking for me early because it's been awhile since we've been on the field together," Burgess remarked. "I think he just tried to get us in the groove again and tried to get something going- and that's what he did."

Not only did Burgess come through for the offense, he also had a 33 yard kickoff return, proving that he still is a threat on special teams. "I think that was my first chance to get back in the game with a kickoff return, and I think coach is going to look for me to put me back there in games to come."

The first three non-conference games of the season have given the ASU offense a chance to identify some of their potential weaknesses, one being the passing game. Unlike the previous defenses the Devils have faced, Oregon State has a more experienced secondary. "The biggest challenge is going to be in the passing game," Burgess said. "Their secondary is pretty experienced and last year they did a pretty good job of shutting down our receivers."

Despite a few minor kinks that need to be worked out the Devils feel ready to go for Saturday's game against Oregon State. "I think we've come a long way," Burgess added. "It showed with the passing yards last week and Keegan (Herring) going in and rushing for over a hundred (yards). As long as we keep making big plays like that we'll be pretty successful."

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