Burns biding his time at alma mater
10/13/2011 12:00 AM
10/13/2011 9:50 AM
Morgan Burns, a former two-time All-Metro running back at Trinity Academy, is in an unfamiliar position this season. Not only is he on the Knights' sideline, he's an assistant coach.
Kansas State signed Burns last February but asked him to put off his career by a season. He won't enroll until January and doesn't lose eligibility.
He could have gone to another college and suited up right away, but that didn't interest him.
"I really want to go to K-State," Burns said. "I figured I'd go for it."
Burns, a perpetually positive person, didn't worry about not being on the team for this season.
Instead, he's worked to make this a good experience.
Burns is an assistant coach at Trinity, doing a little bit of everything.
"He gets the scout team organized; he's a gopher coach," Trinity coach Tyler Ryan said. "He's not in charge of calling defenses. But when we need help or we're short-handed, he'll fill in.
"... I thought it would be hard for him at first. He's always played. Since he was a freshman, he's been one of the guys. For him to step back, it's been good for him. I think he'll come back with a sense of urgency."
Not every recent graduate can handle such a situation. But Burns is different.
"He's one of those types of kids, he is only 18, but sometimes he acts like he's 28," Ryan said. "He just has a really great sense of maturity and what it takes."
Burns' maturity has developed even more, Ryan said.
"It's been a good process," Burns said. "I'm able to work out, get bigger, develop physically."
He is taking online courses, but he's also working out every morning, which has been a test.
"It's kind of weird because it's definitely a discipline thing," Burns said. "I have to get up and go out and run on my own. I'm used to playing basketball, track, football, always being in shape, always lifting.
"This has helped me discipline myself, getting up and going running, getting on the track and doing drills. It's definitely been different, but it's cool to have it on my back and do it myself."
Burns talks to K-State coaches every other week and he attends the Wildcats' home games. He believes his time to play for the Wildcats is in the near future.
Until then, he's enjoying being a coach for the Knights (4-2).
"It's cool seeing football from the other side of things," he said. "You notice things that you didn't notice before. It's cool being around Trinity, mentoring some of the guys and being around my little brother."
Tyler Burns, a freshman, is second in the Central Plains League in rushing with 729 yards. He wears his brother's No. 33, which is fun for Morgan to see.
"He's his brother's biggest fan," Ryan said of Morgan.
And Tyler Burns has impressed his brother. Tyler (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) is bigger than Morgan was as a freshman, and Morgan said that Tyler's already a more powerful back than he was at that age.
"I didn't know how he'd take it. He'd have to take the load off my back," Morgan Burns said. "He's a freshman. He's taking it pretty well. He's a tough kid, he runs well. He's taking a beating, but I think he'll see that he's going to get that every game. Just get up and keep chugging along."
And that's what Morgan Burns will keep doing.
His time is coming.
About Joanna Chadwick
Joanna writes about high school sports, which she has covered since 1996, shortly after graduating from the University of Missouri. Chadwick, who interned at the Kansas City Star and Sports Illustrated before coming to The Eagle, has followed sports since she was a child growing up in Minnesota. Sadly, she's still a fan of the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins.
Contact Joanna at 316-268-6270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.