First and Goal with Kris Burd
This week junior wide receiver Kris Burd and the Virginia Cavaliers are traveling to No. 13 Virginia Tech. The Richmond, Va., native recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to discuss becoming the first receiving duo with Dontrelle Inman to amass over 700 receiving yards apiece in a season, coming into the year as the most experience receiver and the advice he gave to other receivers, and what a win would mean over the Hokies in the battle for the Commonwealth Cup.
Question: After suffering a narrow defeat to Boston College last Saturday, what can the team improve on this week in practice to prepare for the final game of the season against Virginia Tech?
Burd: Probably just the fundamentals. Penalties have been a big issue for us in games. We just need to work on executing the offense and capitalizing in the red zone.
Question: While the game against BC may have been disappointing for the team, you and Dontrelle Inman made history against the Eagles, becoming the first Virginia wide receiver duo to reach 700 yards receiving each in a season. How have you benefited from having a receiver like Dontrelle on the team?
Burd: We kind of feed off each other. Dontrelle and I work out together. We came in together as freshmen, and we grew up all throughout the years and blossomed at the same time. We’ve got a little competitive thing going with who’s going to do better each week, so it definitely gives you an extra edge and an extra drive throughout the game. It gives you motivation off the field, too. It’s definitely a big thing.
Question: You and Dontrelle may be friendly rivals, but you are also close with senior quarterback Marc Verica. How would you describe your relationship with Marc?
Burd: Our relationship started off as kind of a business thing on the field. Marc’s a funny guy though, and now we just laugh and joke around all the time off the field. He’s just a good guy. We get together, watch NFL games, play video games, hang out and chill. I feel like that helps us on the field, as well-having that relationship off the field.
Question: Coming into the season as the most experienced wide receiver on the team, did you feel the need to take on more of a leadership role in the offense?
Burd: Definitely. I tried to help bring up some of the guys who didn’t have as much playing experience, like Matt Snyder. He didn’t have as much playing experience, but he’s been here. Dontrelle and I have been here and we’ve done that, so we’ve got to bring the guys who haven’t experienced it along with us and make sure they know how to handle certain situations. I just try to make the team better anyway I can because I’ve been through a lot of seasons and been through a lot of offseasons. I’m trying to lift the team up along with the captains-just motivate us and keep us pointing in the right direction.
Question: One of the most overlooked aspects of receiving is route running and its importance to the offense. How would you describe that part of your duty as a wide receiver?
Burd: As a receiver, you’re not really running your route against a DB. You’re running your route against the D-Line and the pass-rush. If you don’t run your route at the right depth or the right time, the quarterback is left holding the ball, and it will result in a sack. Running routes and being a blocker on offense is a big part of a receiver’s job as a whole. It’s just precision – let’s say you run the wrong route-the quarterback’s expecting you to be in one place and you’re not-it can result in a turnover. You’ve got to focus and you’ve got to know what you’re doing.
Question: Is that a difficult mentality to learn?
Burd: You’ve just got to know your job and take your job seriously. You’ve got to get in the film room, get into the playbooks, and focus on the little details. The details are what separate you from being guarded and from being open. Attention to details is a big thing in being a wide receiver.
Question: Shifting attention to this weekend’s game against Virginia Tech-coming out of an in-state high school, did you ever give any thoughts to being a Hokie?
Burd: Being from Virginia, I never really closed them off as an option, but I felt like my best fit school-wise and football-wise would be here. It’s a big rivalry game, so there’s added emotion and added effort. I’m just excited to go out there and play this weekend.
Question: Coach London mentioned the team was treating the game against Virginia Tech as if it were a bowl game. Would you agree?
Burd: It’s the last game of the season, it’s a televised game-it’s a big stage. For the seniors, this is it. We’re definitely treating it like a bowl game. We’ve just got to do everything that we could ask for right now. We’ve got a lot of people against us. There are a lot of things we want to execute and a lot of people we want to prove wrong. It’s a big stage, and we’ve just got to go out there and come out with a win.
Question: Do you feel a season-ending win against the Hokies would establish some momentum for the team heading into next year?
Burd: I think the last time we beat them was 2003, so anytime that you number one, win the last game of the season, and number two, get a win when you haven’t had a win against those guys in a while-it’s definitely a big thing. I feel like it would carry on into the winter, which would carry on into the spring, which would carry on into the summer, which would then carry on into next season. It’d definitely be a big win if we could get it.
Question: Have you looked ahead to next season at all in terms of goals you hope to accomplish as a senior?
Burd: I’m not going to think about that right now. I’ve got a game plan – I’ve got to get in the film room. I haven’t really taken the time to think about that yet. It’s a long offseason. I’ve got a lot of time to set foals for myself and as a team. When the time comes, I’ll address it.
Question: Let’s finish up with some final “quick hits.” Favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Burd: Sweet potato pie. My mom makes the best sweet potato pie ever. It has a little marshmallow on top. It’s delicious. I’ll make sure I bring one, maybe two pies back home.
Question: Dream car?
Burd: I’ll have to say a Lamborghini-no-I’ll have to say a Bentley. Bentley Phantom, for sure.
Question: Favorite pair of shoes?
Burd: Probably Air Max 95. I like the style of the shoe. I’ve got that shoe in a lot of different colors. I like how they feel, I like how they look.
Question: Which color pair do you like best?
Burd: Probably my black and purple pair.
Question: Last movie you saw?
Burd: Ali-I have to write a paper on that for class, so I just watched it last night. It’s a pretty good movie.
Question: Last but not least, what’s first on your Christmas wish list this year?
Burd: My Christmas wish would probably just be hoping that my family stays healthy up until next Christmas. That’s a big thing. We’re a close-knit group and we’ve been through a lot, so I’m just hoping everybody has good health up until next Christmas.