Syracuse strong running back Rashad Burns sat down with Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden to talk Week 1 and receiving the Player of the Game award.
The Syracuse Strong opened up the 2019 campaign with a smashing victory over the Charlotte Colonials in Week 1 winning 26-6.
The Strong’s leading star was second-year player Rashad Burns who ran to the tune of 96 yards on 13 carries and collected three touchdowns.
While on the surface it seemed like the Strong’s gameplan was to pound the rock early and often, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Burns sat down with Voice of the Strong Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden on Sunday to talk about the game and how it unfolded:
“In terms of the gameplan we just wanted to impose our will and do whatever we wanted to do. Just stay disciplined and do what we practiced. In practice, we really spend a lot of time doing zone blocking. For me as a running back it’s all about having faith in my offensive linemen that they’ll be in the right place at the right time. We didn’t really have a gameplan to pound the rock, we just wanted to execute.”
Well even if it wasn’t in the gameplan, that’s okay because Rashad prides himself on being a complete running back so Syracuse can adapt to any gameplan. On Saturday evening at the Valley Sports Complex, he totaled three touchdowns (two were on the ground and one was receiving):
“I can run the ball, I can catch the ball, I can pass protect, I can do it all man. At the end of the day for opponents, it’s about picking your poison. If the defense loads the box, throw me a swing pass in the flat. If we want to run the spread offense and then pound it in the middle, we’ll do that. I love the chess match out there.”
Although there have been whispers about the new offensive coordinator coming in for the Strong and what he may bring to this team, Rashad gave us a sneak peek:
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“In the future, it’s going to be more fast-paced. We’re going to be more so a no-huddle offense. We’ll be getting plays from the sideline and being able to go and catch defenses off guard.”
Speaking of hype everyone can’t stop talking about Jason Boltus the new quarterback for the Strong. Team President Khalid Bey shared with me that they’ve been trying to recruit him to the team for the last couple of years. So I asked Rashad straight up, does Jason live up to the hype?
“Absolutely. He literally checks off every box and everything you’d want in a quarterback he has. Despite being the new guy, he has seemed so comfortable in this situation and with all his teammates.”
On his teammates calling Jason Boltus “Peyton Manning”:
“(laughter) that’s really funny. From a playing style (tall and stands high in the pocket), he delivers the ball precisely, and I’m very optimistic about how he can continue to help this team.”
Although Jason didn’t have much of a chance of showing off his Manning skills because Mother Nature intervened throughout the game and ultimately the referees called it early in the third quarter due to potential safety issues (lightning). Rashad took us behind the scenes on all that going down:
“First off this is Syracuse, New York. The weather does whatever it wants. On Saturday we experienced a Monsoon and on Sunday we have beautiful weather. The weather definitely affected the game on both sides. When it came down in the third quarter it felt like it was raining cats and dogs man. Everyone was running off the field man it was one of the craziest games I’ve ever been a part of.”
Burns averaged over eight yards per clip in that crazy weather and I’m sure he’d be satisfied if that ended up being his final average on the season. Speaking of being satisfied, it’d be hard to argue the Strong wasn’t satisfied with their 2018 performance resulting in numerous National Championships and other accolades, Rashad commented on what’s next for the Strong in 2019:
“Just keep loading up the trophy case and stay hungry. Don’t let the past define us. Just because we won some championships, that doesn’t mean we’re satisfied, we want more. We want to be the best for as long as possible.”