Welcome to the new blog site, and thanks for the suggestions on what to ask Morgan Burnett. I’ll put together a full Q/A that will run online soon, but here are some highlights:
Burnett said he hadn’t heard Mike Mayock’s criticism of defensive end Michael Johnson. The NFL Network analyst strongly questioned Johnson’s desire. Burnett called Johnson “a very, very hard worker who shows a lot of passion on the field.” He added: “You don’t like to hear anything bad about your teammate, so you really don’t pay attention to it and just keep your encouraging your teammate to do well.”
Incidentally, a Green Bay Packers beat writer chimed in here on MJ.
Tech starts a series of brutal conditioning drills Monday morning. The schedule says the drills start at 6 a.m., but Burnett knows better. “You better be out there at 5:45 ready to go,” he said. “Coach Johnson is known to start 15 minutes before the time that’s on the paper.”
He mentioned defensive tackle T.J. Barnes, B-back Richard Watson, corner Kamaron Riley and DB Jerrard Tarrant as players to watch this fall.
Burnett disputed the notion that the loss of the three D-linemen puts more pressure on the back seven, though he agreed the secondary and linebackers will be better because they’re more experienced.
“It’s the same mentality. We’ve got to do everything together as a defensive unit. We lost three good linemen so young guys are going to have to step up fast. But I feel we’ve got a lot of great young talent.”
Burnett, who had 7 INTs and 93 tackles last season, has bulked up about 10 pounds to 208, a good playing weight for him.
He’s focusing on increasing his range at rover, disguising coverages and becoming a team leader. He said he’s not thinking about what he’ll do after his junior season, when the NFL will be an option.
“When the times comes to think about it, that’s when I’ll think about it. As far as right now, I’m just worried about us getting better as a team and as a defensive unit. And having a better season than we did last year.”
The LSU loss sticks in his stomach. “That’s the last impression America had of Georgia Tech….There are a lot of things we feel we’ve got to prove.”
Finally, Burnett said he was psyched about the schedule, especially the early back-to-back Thursday ESPN games vs. Clemson and Miami. That seems like a good segue to our Tech travel guide.