Burney Batting 1st at Corner

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- While his football teammates were enduring strength and conditioning work in June, Kendric Burney was sitting in a dugout with his baseball teammates at the College World Series. The projected starting cornerback hopes to use that experience to help the Tar Heels to a successful '07 season.

"That's what the guys on the baseball team did – they had a winning attitude," Burney said. "They were just determined that we weren't going to lose, and when we lost, they were real mad and talking about how tomorrow was going to be a different day. So hopefully we can bring that attitude to the football team, and we'll get a great season out of it."

With the baseball season beginning in February and ending in late June, the redshirt freshman does not have much downtime to recover, but he is determined to keep his intensity level high.

"It's difficult to do, but it's all about the mental aspect – what you want to do," Burney said. "Your body is always with you as long as you can set your mind to do something. I've been able to give 100 percent on both, so if my body can keep up, my mind tells me that I can do it."

Burney knows he does not have much choice, with a lengthy list of players at cornerback battling for the starting spot that he claimed in spring practice.

"There's a lot of competition at cornerback," Burney said. "Kendric Williams is playing excellent ball right now at corner, [Jermaine] Strong is doing some things – just the whole [defensive back] crew is looking real good right now. We've got depth, and we're definitely going to need that on Sept. 1. Everybody's going to get to play, so it's exciting."

That depth includes fifth-year seniors Bryan Bethea and Quinton Person, who have played in a combined 68 ball games during their careers at North Carolina.

"They're leaders no matter what," Burney said. "Whether they play or not, they're the ones that are going to tell you exactly what's wrong. Those guys are going to get on you, and you know, you've got to take it because they've been there and experienced all that. We're still rookies, so we've got to listen to anything they say because they [are not] going to do anything but help us."

With a little more than three weeks remaining before the James Madison kickoff, Burney knows that a starting role must be earned during this training camp, and he's ready for the challenge.

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