DEMAREE: Straight talk with Keenan Burton

KSR's Lonny Demaree recently spoke with Keenan Burton, who has signed a $1 million dollar plus contract with the St. Louis Rams. Burton was a fourth round draft choice with Rams. We asked the ex-Kentucky receiver how it has been so far on the next level.

"The coach (head coach Scott Linehan) expects a lot of us especially special teams," said the ebullient Burton. He expects us to do a lot of things but I'm just elated to be here."

Burton said the coaches he had at UK put you ahead of the game. We asked him in what way?

"Definitely how to catch kickoffs going forward. Definitely how to return punts and instead of going side-to-side and get upfield and when to return the ball. What coach Phillips told us was to look the ball all the way in and to use your hands and you can move a little better than when you use your body."

Burton said as for as the receiving end of it things are looking really well. "I've been running with the starters, I've been running with the two's, also. I've been doing everything they ask me to do. I play the slot – I play outside and we've got a lot of packages where receivers are in the backfield. The offense we've got is complicated but very, very explosive."

He said he stays after practice, he watches film, and he goes up and studies with the assistant receiving coach almost every day after practice. "We are not allowed to look at the script because the coaches want us to be able to think on our feet. I'm having fun, I'm blessed."

Much of Burton's career at Kentucky was hampered by injuries. How is his health now?

"Everything is healthy," said the bubbly Burton. "Just competing and competing."

In some ways, in terms of injuries, Burton's career mirrored that of fomer Kentucky receiver Glenn Holt, who last season began to make his mark with the Cincinnati Bengals. Burton said – "The difference with me and Glenn is when coach Phillips took over as offensive coordinator, he simplified things and it made it a lot easier for me and a lot easier for the quarterback position. If he (Holt) had the same situation, his numbers would have been a lot better because he was a better college receiver than me, he just didn't have the numbers to prove it."

It's been a commonly held opinion that Kentucky doesn't get their deserved respect coming out of college. "I feel like Kentucky guys have a lot to prove," said a perplexed Burton. He said he feels like if Devin Thomas, a junior college receiver from Michigan State drafted by the Washington Redskins, like Steve Johnson can have one exceptional year and get drafted in the second round, why does Johnson wait until the seventh-round? "Kentucky still hasn't gotten the respect it deserves. (Andre) Woodson should have been a first or second round draft choice."

Burton is optimistic about this year's receiving corps at Kentucky. "Coach Brooks knows what he's doing – coach Phillips knows what he's doing – we've got coach Sanders also, they are not going to let the guys slack at all," Burton explained. "It has nothing to do with the guys we've got. It has to do with the mentality that they have. If they have the mentality we had, they will be fine. Then we've got Dicky (Lyons). "I love Dicky. We talked almost every other week. He says, man bring me some of them Ram shorts home (can you say Charles Barkley and Dwyane Wade) and the one thing I'm going to do when I see him is throw some of them Rams shorts in his face. Dicky's like my little brother and has matured a lot. He still has got some maturing to do but thinks now he playing to solidify his legacy at Kentucky. It's definitely time for him to step up and to not more or less be a vocal guy, but show what he can do on the field and he will. I know Dicky and regardless of what people say or think about him, he works hard and he will be ready."

AllWildcats Top Stories