The quarterback battle is nothing new for Burns nor is learning a new offense. Locked in a duel with Todd for the entire year last year, the junior is technically working on his fourth offensive system in three years with two last season because of the change midstream. Because of that Burns said the offense and in particular the quarterbacks are coming together, but it's been a slow process.
"It does kind of get confusing," Burns said. "You kind of convert back to your old habits and aren't thinking right. That's what coach (Gus) Malzahn said. He wants to get all that old stuff out of us that we had, if there's any left. He wants to be able to program us to run this offense, and then after he programs us to do that then we can be ourselves."
Learning a new offense is never easy, but the challenge has been tougher for Burns and the other quarterbacks this spring because Malzahn's system is one that puts a lot of pressure on the position. In addition to making the correct throws and delivering the ball on time and on target, Burns said there is plenty more to learn.
"It's definitely difficult," Burns said. "There are a lot of different things to know, a lot of different reads. As a quarterback, once you master it, it's a quarterback friendly offense. It's the kind of offense you want to be in as a quarterback. There is definitely a lot of homework you've got to do. You've got to study it every night and be on top of your game to be able to run this offense. It's going to be fun.
"The other day he got mad at us for protections," he added. "A lot of us were unsure of the different protections the line had. I think we got that fixed and ironed out now. Just executing now is the main thing. There are times you're going to go out there now and have brain lapses. You've got to at least recover and try to make the best of what you've got."
One of the biggest part of Burns' game is his ability to make plays with his feet. Last season he finished second on the team in rushing with 411 yards and scored five touchdowns to lead everyone. He said that's something that should pay dividends in the new offense as well.
"The quarterback definitely in this offense has to be able to run the ball," Burns said. "I will run some in this offense as well, but I don't know if it will be as much as last year. The quarterback this offense definitely runs the ball."
Just a third of the way through spring practice, the race for the starting job is just beginning to heat up. Because of that the pressure is just building for Burns and everyone else at the position. For that reason he said he's just going to focus on playing his game and let the chips fall where they may.
"I feel like I'm doing fine," Burns said. "I think everybody is doing pretty good so far. I think it's a pretty good competition. I feel like as soon as I go out there and do everything I'm supposed to do then everything will take care of itself. I just have to go and work hard every single day and let everything else take care of itself."