Syracuse Strong running back Rashad Burns has earned Player of the Game honors for the 2nd time. Here’s how he made that happen.
It took five weeks of play, but finally, we have a multi-time winner for Player of the Game honors. Rashad Burns, Syracuse Strong running back was a man possessed on Saturday evening vs the Troy Fighting Irish.
He has all the ability to earn this award on any given week and he achieved that status in Week 5.
Rashad carried the rock 18 times for 146 yards and notched four touchdowns. It wasn’t a perfect performance, he did lose one fumble during the 37-20 victory over the Troy Fighting Irish.
- He had four carries that were at least 10+ yards.
- Three went for at least 20+ yards.
- While two of them went at least 46 yards.
But not every play goes for a touchdown or a long gain. Playing the running back position is a grind
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and that’s something Rashad embraces:
“It comes with the territory. Not every play is going to go perfectly, it’s about rolling with the punches and going with the flow. We have to have short term memory. If we throw an interception, move on. If we score a touchdown, move on. Just have to keep moving on to the next play.”
Obviously, a game can be a grind, but that even extends to the season. You aren’t always going to have a good game and Rashad is no exception. After running roughshod in Week 1 for 96 yards and three touchdowns, Burns fell off with lackluster performances in Week 2 and Week 3.
“At the end of the day it’s football and it happens. I take the good with the good and the bad with the bad. It’s all about grinding it out and staying strong mentally and physically knowing it’ll come eventually.”
Although it’s safe to say Rashad had a good week and game vs the Troy Fighting Irish. He seemed to pull every move out of the chest: stiff arms, hesitation, shake-and-bake, and simply hitting another gear once he got into the secondary. But what’s his favorite move?
“It’s all about reaction man. Whatever the defense gives me I take. If the moment calls for a stiff arm I do it if it’s cutting early or late, or just being patient. But I will say I have a lot more moves up my sleeve I haven’t shown yet.”
Some of that you can’t teach, you either have it or you don’t. Rashad has been playing the game of football since he was young, he even used to sleep with a football in his hands believe it or not.
Although it hasn’t always been natural for Rashad, he prides himself on watching a lot of tape. He’s able to key in on what the opposing defenders like to do vs the run or the pass.
“It’s a chess match and a numbers game. If the opponent wants to stack the box, we can throw it quick to the outside. If we spread them out and the box is light, we can pound the rock.”
Although sometimes things are out of your control, like the officiating. Which according to several Syracuse Strong players, coaches, and fans was lackluster, to say the least.
“The first quarter we had four turnovers, I’m not going to blame the refs for that though. But there were a lot of missed calls and it was really one-sided. We just stood together and powered through. At the end of the day, players will play, coaches will coach, and refs will officiate. Hopefully next time we play them we can get some fair calls.”
Although something Rashad does control is his celebrations once he gets into the endzone. If you were at the game or watched the film, you probably noticed Burns paying homage to one of the greatest running backs in NFL History, LaDainian Tomlinson:
“Absolutely I had to do the touchdown flick. I’ve watched a lot of him on tape and it’s the icing on the cake. After you score a touchdown and you just top it off. So that’s one of the celebrations in my toolbox. Although I may have some more coming: maybe a Reggie Bush dive. Although the LT celebration is safe and easy.”
Some of the other running backs that Rashad Burns loves and models his game after include:
- Marshall Faulk
- Walter Payton
- Reggie Bush
- LeVeon Bell
The more success that Rashad achieves, the bigger his voice gets in the game planning:
“We’re all on the same page, but everyone in the room will ask each other what they see and what works best. There’s a good level of respect in the room. They always ask me what I see out there and I’ll ask us to do some inside zone or some outside zone. I’m versatile so I can do a lot of different things.”
I’d venture to guess this won’t be the last time that Rashad Burns earns Player of the Game honors this season for the Syracuse Strong.