Burns Talks Duane Coleman; James Davis

CUTigers.com's Brett Jensen spoke with running backs coach Burton Burns in the third of a series of exclusive one-on-one interviews where you, the fan, get to propose the questions for the entire football coaching staff.

If you had your choice, would you rather have a powerful, bruising running back or one that is shifty?
Burns: A combination of all of them. I think there's a guy out there that can do those type of things. You want that guy, a complete guy that can break tackles, can run over guys and make guys miss.

How rare is that, though?
Burns: There are guys out there like that. I think if you look at a guy like (Oklahoma's) Adrian Peterson and the difference he made. Those guys are exceptional, but they're out there and you always like to think there's one for you. There's not many of them and you've got to keep searching to find them.

How does incoming freshman James Davis compare with what you're looking for?
Burns: I think he's as close to a combination to what we've been looking for. He's powerful and can run over guys, he's got great acceleration and can hit the home run from anywhere on the field. I think he's that type of guy we've been looking for and there's a lot of anticipation to see him perform. But he's obviously is going to have to carry it over from high school to college, where he's going against better athletes. And that usually determines whether the guy is a special guy or not. We're just going to have to wait and see.

If you had to guess now, do you think Duane Coleman will be on the team in 2005?
Burns: So far to this point he's done everything that he's supposed to have done. He's done well academically. He ended up with a 3.2 this past semester. That was one of the things we challenged him with when he had his issues during spring ball. He's been doing everything as far as the workouts are concerned. It's a day-by-day thing. But as of today, it's looking good. If he continues on the course that he's on now, he should be back.

If you were going to tailgate, what foods would you bring?
Burns: To start off with, I'd definitely boil some type of seafood. Maybe some crawfish or shrimp. When you walked into my area, you'd smell the crawfish or the shrimp boiling. That would be the appetizer. Obviously I'd have my grill going and on the grill I would have hamburgers, hotdogs and of course New Orleans hot sausage. We'd also have some fried oysters. My new item on the menu would be Bootsie Burgers, which is a combination of hot sausage and ground beef mixed into patties. Obviously we would have jambalaya and seafood gumbo because it's a long day. You've got to have something before the game and you've got to have something after the game, and the gumbo and jambalaya after the game. And we'd finish it with Mississippi mud pie for desert. My tailgating would be very healthy and fattening.

When you walk into a kid's home for the first time, what is your philosophy on how you're going to approach them and try to convince them to come to Clemson?
Burns: I like to think that when I walk into a home, it's about the family, not just the kid. It's about the mom and the dad and the sister and the aunt and whoever's in there. I want them to feel real comfortable with me, because what I'm doing is I'm walking in there like 20 other schools are walking in there. And when I leave there, I want those people to know they can trust their child with me. I need to be honest enough where I can leave a good impression with them. Recruiting is about being a good salesman and my point of emphasis is to develop some type of trust before I walk out of there. The whole family wants to be comfortable with the kid's decision. You don't know how many times the biggest influence is the mom or the dad or the bother or the sister or the uncle or the aunt. We have to lean on those people. Parents always say it's up to the kid, but they have an influence on it. I also sell the education factor and about how important it is to get a degree.

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