Marcus Rush is a star on the Michigan State defense. As an anchor on the defensive line from his DE spot he has a lot to say about new DL Coach Ron Burton. Rush has the attention of NFL scouts so any new wrinkles or improvements Burton can bring, the young Rush will eat up like a sponge.
Rush said of some new things Burton has brought to the table that, “He’s been involving a lot of hands and body positioning and feet work. I think he’s been watching film, and he’s been watching the things that we need to work on. He’s been in his office doing work. He’s definitely bringing it out on the field coaching us.”
You can’t watch winter workouts or spring practice like I have and not notice the intensity has taken a big step forward. I asked Rush about that big swing in emotion, “Yeah, no doubt. I think Coach Burton definitely brought excitement. Like I said, he’s an up tempo guy and he’s got new ideas and I think he’s got faith in us really, and that’s why he’s excited cause he knows we got talent.”
Rush is not a young man that seeks the limelight. He lets his play speak for him. So how is he adjusting to the change? “I’m kind of sitting back and letting him do his thing. I’m learning. I was thinking about that today; I just got to learn the way he coaches and he’s gotta learn the way we learn. So it’ll take a little bit of time but I think it’ll set in pretty quick.”
Burton has already made a big impact by spending time with his new pupils. Getting to know them as people before demanding everything they have and more on the field. Rush was more than willing to talk about that approach by Burton. “I think it was the second day or so he came in and I went up there and talked to him for a good amount of time. He told me he’s gonna…you need to learn a lot of stuff, you’re gonna learn from me and all the players really. He can’t just come in here and expect to know everything. It’s gonna be from us.”
Burton has been where the players want to be: in the NFL. He also hasn’t come in acting as if he knows everything and that has impressed his group of young me. He listens and that peaked Rush’s interest. “He said that if I say something wrong you just make sure you correct me. And you’ll take the coaching, you’ll need to call me Coach Rush. I mean it’s kind of, it’ll be interesting. It’ll be fun.”
So what are the key changes that Rush has noticed? “I think that he takes into consideration detail. He makes sure that we’re doing the small things and those small things he takes and he puts them in drills. We just do reps after reps after reps at drills and making sure that we take the drills and bring them on the field.”
Rush went on to add about the changes that, “I think the intensity and his new ideas. He’s a young guy. He played in a league not too long ago and he’s had a lot of experience coaching too so I think it’s just really the new ideas that he’s bringing to the D line and excitement.”
Are there a lot of new things Marcus? “Yup, new drills, new hand drills, just stuff to put in your head to make sure you have it in your head while you’re out on the field and also doing the drills as well.”
When you watch Coach Burton interact with the players it seems like the unit as a whole is listening with great awareness. He’s got their attention, he’s commanded their attention. What does it mean to them, when all want to get to the league that he’s been there? Rush said, “It means a lot. Means that he knows what it takes to get there, and he knows what work we need to put in to get there as well. He’s gonna get us there, just provide the confidence that he brings to the table.”
This spring isn’t just about young players; it is also about the stars. Everyone wants to get better. Rush isn’t a good one, he is a great one and with him buying in, that gives instant credibility to Coach Burton. What is even more impressive is that it didn’t take long for Coach Burton to earn it. Burton has the fire of Pat Narduzzi and the attention to detail of Dantonio. That is a great thing.