Ben Burr-Kirven ready to step up

With the injury to junior linebacker Sean Constantine, others are going to have to step up. One of those is true sophomore Ben Burr-Kirven, who is willing to do what it takes.

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Bouncing back from a rough spring - “It was really tough. I was really looking forward to getting out there in spring and improving, but hurting my knee was definitely a setback. In the long term it really hasn’t hurt me that much. I was able to come back, I didn’t miss any of the summer workouts. Obviously it was a bummer to not be out there practicing in spring, but I got back out here and I haven’t had any problems with it since.”

How big was it to play last season? - “That was huge. It was very overwhelming to start, just getting out there. But as the season went on and I kind of settled in, I was like I get this. Coming into my second year having a year under my belt is huge. Going in there I know what’s going to come next Saturday. I know what the season is going to be like. I know how hard it’s going to be, how much of a grind it’s going to be. But having a year under my belt is huge.”

On the injury to Sean Constantine and how that hit the LB group - “That’s real tough. Sean’s a great guy. He loves being out here, loves it more than anyone else, so it’s definitely hard to see a guy like that go down. But he’s still around. He’ll be in the room. We have a lot of great young guys that are going to step up. DJ Beavers coming off his redshirt freshman year has been really good. And obviously the young guys - Brandon Wellington has been out here making plays. So I think we’ll be alright. It’s tough to see Sean go down but we have to pick up where he left off and keep moving on.”

On filling in at both ILB spots - “I’ve been practicing at both, so I know both positions so I can swing either position if they need me to. We’ll see how it is in the game, what (Bob Gregory) needs me to do, but I can do both positions. For the older guys, they expect us to know both. For the younger guys they are just trying to figure it out, so just focus on their one position. But from last year to now, he expects me and Jake (Wambaugh) and guys like that to know both positions to go whenever he needs us.”

How have the true freshmen been doing? - “They’ve been great. Brandon’s come in making huge plays in the scrimmage we had and both him and Camilo (Eifler) have been focused. I think they are a lot more mature than I would have expected as true freshmen coming in here and doing their first fall camp. They haven’t complained or been whining or anything. They just want to learn every day. They are great in the meeting rooms, paying attention, taking notes and obviously out on the field they’re both producing.”

What gives you confidence that the defense is going to be even better than last year? - “We obviously lost some good guys, Feeney, Cory, Tani - but we have so much talent. You look at our secondary, the guys we have back there. Our two-deeps, our three-deeps are crazy. We have the same thing at linebacker. We have depth with our d-line this year. I don’t see why we shouldn’t be better than we were last year. As long as everyone plays up to their potential we have the ability to be just as good as we were last year, if not better.”

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