Making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver as a player, Burns coached the running backs at Samford in 2014 before transitioning back to the receivers in 2015.
Now with a year under his belt at Auburn, Burns said he’s completely at home with coaching the position and expects nothing but the best from his guys moving forward.
“I’m comfortable as all get out,” Burns said. “A year ago, three years ago, five years ago, that’s part of the job. I come in and I’m confident in what I’m doing, I believe in what I’m teaching these guys, I believe in how they’re developing so far so it’s not a comfort issue with me. I have a lot of confidence in myself, my ability to coach and get these young guys right.”
Helping in Burns transition was a familiarity with Gus Malzahn’s offense after playing in the system. Now with changes to the system under new coordinator Chip Lindsey, Burns said it’s something he’s also familiar with, but he added that it’s not a complete overhaul of the offense.
“I mean it’s the same things that I’ve been doing, the same things that I’m teaching,” Burns said “I think football is football. I don’t care what offense you play in, there are just different plays that you run, but they’re all the same concepts. And now we just brought some different concepts from a different offensive coordinator to come in here and kind of tweak the passing game a little bit.”
While the basis of the offense remains much the same there are some major differences as well, most notably the use of RPO's as a major part of the offense. Something the Tigers have done from time to time in the past few seasons, Burns said seeing it in action in the spring has him excited about the possibilities of what they can do with the added big play potential.
“It’s been good,” Burns said. “Really adding the RPO--the run pass options have been good for my guys just to get some more balls on run plays and also some deep shots that we’re doing now. It’s been a really good situation so far with Coach Lindsey coming in, calling the offense and putting in some RPO’s for our guys to make some more plays out in space.”
With spring practice behind them the Tigers are focused on improvement individually over the summer before getting back together for preseason work in August. Even though the expectations are for more catches and yards for his wide receivers, Burns noted that the ultimate goal is all about winning games and playing for a championship.
“I mean definitely you’re always looking at getting better and progressing,” Burns said. “We set our own personal goals and all those things, but the No. 1 goal is winning. That’s all we care about. I don’t care if one guy is an All-American or not.
“As long as we win, that’s the No. 1 thing. Yeah, each guy I asked them, ‘Hey what are your goals for the season? What do you want to get out of Auburn? What do you want to get out of four years, three years, two years, one? Why are you here? What’s your purpose?’
“We can have those personal goals, but the ultimate goal is to win. How are we going to do that? Whether that’s blocking, whether that’s running deep balls, making plays, we have to do all those things. It’s a combination of things and that’s kind of what we talk about at the receiver position.”