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, â€œHeâ€™s been involving a lot of hands and body positioning and feet work. I think heâ€™s been watching film, and heâ€™s been watching the things that we need to work on. Heâ€™s been in his office doing work. Heâ€™s definitely bringing it out on the field coaching us.â€
You canâ€™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, â€œYeah, no doubt. I think Coach Burton definitely brought excitement. Like I said, heâ€™s an up tempo guy and heâ€™s got new ideas and I think heâ€™s got faith in us really, and thatâ€™s why heâ€™s excited cause he knows we got talent.â€
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? â€œIâ€™m kind of sitting back and letting him do his thing. Iâ€™m learning. I was thinking about that today; I just got to learn the way he coaches and heâ€™s gotta learn the way we learn. So itâ€™ll take a little bit of time but I think itâ€™ll set in pretty quick.â€
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. â€œI 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 heâ€™s gonnaâ€¦you need to learn a lot of stuff, youâ€™re gonna learn from me and all the players really. He canâ€™t just come in here and expect to know everything. Itâ€™s gonna be from us.â€
Burton has been where the players want to be: in the NFL. He also hasnâ€™t come in acting as if he knows everything and that has impressed his group of young me. He listens and that peaked Rushâ€™s interest. â€œHe said that if I say something wrong you just make sure you correct me. And youâ€™ll take the coaching, youâ€™ll need to call me Coach Rush. I mean itâ€™s kind of, itâ€™ll be interesting. Itâ€™ll be fun.â€
So what are the key changes that Rush has noticed? â€œI think that he takes into consideration detail. He makes sure that weâ€™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.â€
Rush went on to add about the changes that, â€œI think the intensity and his new ideas. Heâ€™s a young guy. He played in a league not too long ago and heâ€™s had a lot of experience coaching too so I think itâ€™s just really the new ideas that heâ€™s bringing to the D line and excitement.â€
Are there a lot of new things Marcus? â€œYup, new drills, new hand drills, just stuff to put in your head to make sure you have it in your head while youâ€™re out on the field and also doing the drills as well.â€
When you watch Coach Burton interact with the players it seems like the unit as a whole is listening with great awareness. Heâ€™s got their attention, heâ€™s commanded their attention. What does it mean to them, when all want to get to the league that heâ€™s been there? Rush said, â€œIt 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. Heâ€™s gonna get us there, just provide the confidence that he brings to the table.â€
This spring isnâ€™t just about young players; it is also about the stars. Everyone wants to get better. Rush isnâ€™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 didnâ€™t take long for Coach Burton to earn it.Â Burton has the fire of Pat Narduzzi and the attention to detail of Dantonio. That is a great thing.