The Auburn junior, a key figure at quarterback in last year's disappointing home loss to Arkansas, will be playing a different role this year as a receiver and the wildcat formation quarterback. Burns and his teammates head into the game with a 5-0 record as they take on the 2-2 Razorbacks and Burns notes that he is looking forward to making the road trip.
"It is always exciting going back to where you are from, especially with a good team like Auburn that I play for and I am just proud of it," Burns tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It is going to be a lot of fun going back and playing against those guys."
While the Tigers were struggling on offense last year when they faced the Razorbacks, the opposite is the case this season. Auburn is one of the hottest offensive teams in college football with its averages of 41.4 points scored per contest and 512.8 yards per game.
"We have different things to throw teams off balance a little bit," Burns says of Coach Gus Malzahn's system. "That is what we are good at."
Coach Gus Malzahn
Burns says that Auburn's fast paced style of play on offense combined with good conditioning are big factors in the improved numbers compared to last year. Tennessee had to call timeouts twice last Saturday night for a rest break when the Tigers were in high gear moving the football.
"It is part of the offense that once you wear them down, you hit them wear it hurts," Burns says. "I think Coach Chizik says it best, ‘When you smell blood in the water, you have got to be a shark and you have got to go get it.' That is the approach we take with this offense. Once you get them tired and you see them with their hands on their hips, that is when you have got to get greedy and want to come off the ball."
Burns injured his thigh on the opening series of Auburn's victory over Ball State and did not play the rest of that game. He played against Tennessee this past week and was effective. "I was getting back pretty close to full speed," he says. "It got tight on me a couple of times and Tennessee was hitting pretty hard and that didn't help it. I felt pretty good."
The Arkansas game will be Auburn's second road contest of the year. How does Burns think the Tigers did on their first road trip last week, a 26-22 victory? "I think we handled it pretty well," he says. "Tennessee did a great job on everything we did. I felt we executed pretty good on offense, but we didn't come away with enough points. We came away with field goals instead of touchdowns. I feel as if we left three or four touchdowns on the field."
Malzahn agrees with Burns, who notes the coach really wants the Tigers to play well this week as a native of Arkansas returning home.
"I know it would mean a lot," Burns points out. "I know what it is like being from Arkansas and all of the pressure that comes with it, the pressure on you to stay in state and different things like that. It is always good to go home and beat those guys."
Looking at the big picture on offense, Burns says, "We are doing pretty good, but there are a lot of things we can improve. I think the main thing is the team effort we have. We have wide receivers blocking on the perimeter doing a great job of opening up runs. The offensive line is doing a great job and Chris (Todd) is as well leading the team. As an offense I think we are still scratching the service. I still believe we can do a lot better."
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