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Monday, August 11, 2014

Q&A: Rutgers' Michael Burton on death of the fullback, Ralph Friedgen, Big Ten

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

In 29 career appearances — 17 starts — Michael Burton has quietly proven one of Rutgers' most productive players, averaging 6.96 yards per touch.

The team's senior fullback after Friday's training camp practice:

Barto: Is is safe to say you've survived the death of the fullback across college football nationally?

Burton: “It’s awesome to know that Rutgers still uses a fullback, and the fact that I have an opportunity to be that fullback here is awesome.”

Barto: Two weeks into training camp, how have you seen your role evolve in coordinator Ralph Friedgen's offense?

Burton: “I just think if I can continue to show him I can be versatile guy that he can use in different packages, then he’ll use me more. He does a very good job in putting not only myself but everyone in the office in the best position to be successful. That’s really all you can ask for.”

Barto: Does it get tiring, year after year, to hear coaches say, "We have to find a way to get Burton the ball more?"

Burton: “No, absolutely not. I have all the trust in Coach (Kyle) Flood and Coach Friedgen, my position coach, Norries Wilson, all those guys. I truly believe they put myself and the everyone else in the best position to be successful.”

Barto: How much of a size of pride is it to play in the Big Ten, where the fullback-linebacker clash is so prominent?

Burton: “I really think that league is built on physicality. It always has big-time linebackers, and to be a run-first, physical team we are in a physical conference. I think it starts with the fullback, and I want to be that tone setter.”

Barto: What's it like to have so many former walk-ons (Burton, Paul James, Bryan Leoni) make an impact on the offense?

Burton: “It’s just hardwork, guys who came here who were walk-ons. The offense as a whole right now is working very hard. As long as we stay and continue to be more consistent, we’ll be fine."

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