Julian Burnett Makes First Start

Freshman linebacker Julian Burnett saw his first collegiate action against Jacksonville State and led the team in tackling that game as a backup middle linebacker. Saturday he was given his first start at outside linebacker. Julian talks about his preparation for the game, how he felt going into the game, and how the simplified defense helped him on the field.

Julian Burnett - Profile

When did you know that you'd be starting against North Carolina?

"Probably Tuesday when the game plan was set up and we were actually running plays with the scout team. It became obvious that the "husky" wasn't in as much as I was. It became clear to me and then I was notified."

Going into Wednesday's practice did you prepare the same as you normally do for a game or was it different because you knew you were starting?

"I think it was different. Of course, I'm always willing to get in the film room and learn with the coaches but this week I felt it was best that I do those things as much as I could. I took it upon myself to get as much knowledge as I could."

Going into the game were you and the defense aware of what everyone was saying about the defense's performance and how did that effect you?

"We were aware of it. We have goals that we set for the defense and we want to stick to those goals. We just had to raise the intensity level. We went out there and played hard. We got a lot of three and outs and we accomplished what we came to do."

Were you nervous going into the game?

"Just a little nervous; it was a big start against a ranked team."

How much did simplifying the defense help you?

"It helped a lot. Most of the guys that were playing were here last year, so they knew what was going on before it got simplified. I was kind of behind in learning and adjusting, but this week they made it a whole lot simpler for me to execute."

How much different was it playing against Jacksonville State as opposed to today?

"It was a lot more calm. I didn't have to think as much. I was able to execute and just have fun. It was not as much thinking and more reacting."

Does it excite you that this new style suits you?

"I'm just thankful that I'm able to play the game. It's a blessing. When they made it simpler for me I knew that was my chance and opportunity to capitalize on it. I just went out there and reacted and didn't think so much. I stayed focused and it came out good."

Next week you play against Mississippi State. They're a team that likes to run the ball a lot. Is that the type of team you like to play against?

"Yes, that's what a linebacker is. We're used to the contact. We have to stop the run. I always like playing teams that run the ball. It gives me more work. I'm looking forward to it."

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