Q&A with Fullback Michael Burton

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Fullback Michael Burton is back after a bad leg injury prematurely ended his 2012 season. Full-go this spring and turning heads at the midway point in camp, Burton discussed his return to the field and new role in the offense with ScarletReport.com.

ScarletReport.com -- Michael, what does it mean to finally be back on a football field? Michael Burton -- It's an amazing feeling. It was very difficult to have to sit out those few months after getting injured. I understand that injuries are a part of the game and I try to take it as a positive and grow from it. All I could do was continue to work hard in the weight room and in the film room.

SR.com -- The running game took a hit after you got hurt. Does you being back help boost Savon Huggins and the other guys this spring?

MB -- I really hope so. I love run blocking. I want coaches to be able to depend on me to make any block that's needed. It's my job to get the running back out in the open field for touchdowns. I'm here to help this offense as best I can.

SR.com -- Have you felt comfortable with the pads on doing full contact?

MB -- Yeah, it felt great. That first Saturday practice with full pads and then hitting the rest of the spring, it's great to get out and be banging heads again and just working on my run reads and being physical with the linebackers.

SR.com -- How have things changed for you in offensive coordinator Ron Prince's offense?

MB -- Some of the wording is different. It's basically the same running plays but the terminology isn't the same. I've been in my playbook non-stop, so I'm able to handle it.

SR.com -- Would you say you're caught up with the changed?

MB -- Yeah I'm pretty caught up right now. You just have to continue to keep focused in the film room and read your playbook every night. That's what I'm trying to tell the younger guys and younger running backs. You have to always be in your playbook.

SR.com -- You're getting a lot of reps at tailback this spring. How comfortable are you doing that?

MB -- I've been able to get some carries from the running back position and build confidence there. It feels great.

SR.com -- You were one of the top running backs in the state coming out of West Morris Central. Do you want a role with the ball in your hands this season?

MB -- If that opportunity arises, I'm there. If coach [Kyle Flood] thinks that's what's best for the team, then definitely. I'm out here to do what's best for everyone, not just me. Whether that's running back, fullback or both, I'm glad to help out.

SR.com -- What do you think you can bring to the table as a running back?

MB -- I'm a tough, physical runner and that's a big part of our offense. We have a bunch of great running backs in this program. I think I can just add to that group and add some depth. If the coaches call my name, I'll be reliable. I'll know the playbook and I'll know what I have to do.

SR.com -- You mention great younger running backs in the program. What are you seeing from guys like Dontea Ayres so far?

MB -- Dontea is a very strong, powerful, quick runner. Desmon Peoples isn't that big, but he's very quick. Then you have Dontea, who's a powerful guy. Both bring different things to the table but they're both excellent backs.

SR.com -- What are your expectations for the second scrimmage and the spring game?

MB -- It's the most competitive action I'll see since my injury. I'm just expecting to go out there and finish. I'm going to be physical every single play and, obviously, have fun.

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