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Tigers move on to Elite Eight -11/23/2014, 7:43 PM

Tiger men pick up second win -11/23/2014, 7:43 PM

Tigers search for new coaches -11/23/2014, 7:43 PM

Phillipsburg drops a heartbreaker to end season -11/23/2014, 7:42 PM

KVA all-state volleyball teams -11/23/2014, 7:42 PM

Tiger women roll to second straight win -11/23/2014, 7:42 PM

Knights claim state title -11/22/2014, 10:46 AM

Tigers' Paraguay soccer connection -11/21/2014, 10:56 AM

One last go for Knights' seniors -11/21/2014, 5:00 PM

Phillipsburg one step away -11/21/2014, 10:47 AM

McPherson standout signs with FHSU -11/20/2014, 2:35 PM

Wildcats look to bounce back at Morgantown -11/20/2014, 10:29 AM

Tiger women roll to record win -11/20/2014, 10:20 AM

FHSU men pick up first win -11/20/2014, 10:20 AM

Cavs fumble chance to beat Spurs -11/20/2014, 10:20 AM

A's officially sign Butler -11/20/2014, 10:20 AM

Two Tigers named to MIAA vb team -11/19/2014, 11:13 AM

Jordy Nelson sets early tone for Packers' offense -11/19/2014, 10:05 AM

Kentucky blasts KU -11/19/2014, 10:05 AM

Defense leads Wildcat women -11/19/2014, 10:05 AM

K-State looks to run stronger -11/19/2014, 10:13 AM

No. 11 Wichita State rolls over Memphis -11/18/2014, 8:05 PM

Inman named MIAA Wrestlers of the Week -11/18/2014, 2:23 PM

Williams, Jordan among first-team all-MIAA selections for FHSU -11/18/2014, 11:16 AM

Bell, Steelers rally past Titans -11/18/2014, 10:11 AM

NFL suspends Peterson without pay -11/18/2014, 10:11 AM

'Cats knock off UMKC at Bramlage -11/18/2014, 10:10 AM

Calipari will simplify offense -11/18/2014, 10:10 AM

Hays High football earns WAC honors -11/18/2014, 10:10 AM

Wichita State defense works at protecting the basket -11/17/2014, 2:36 PM

K.C., Wichita to host NCAA's in future -11/17/2014, 2:08 PM

Harvick wins Chase -11/17/2014, 10:14 AM

FHSU women fall just short of rally -11/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Charles beats Seahawks' 'Beast' at own game -11/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Rams shock Manning, Broncos -11/17/2014, 10:14 AM

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's elusiveness, style earns Chiefs' respect -11/17/2014, 10:12 AM

It's basketball time in South Dakota for WSU -11/17/2014, 10:12 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Burns grows with KSU

Published on -8/22/2014, 9:57 AM

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By ARNE GREEN

Special to The Hays Daily News

MANHATTAN - For every step forward in Morgan Burns' Kansas State football career, he's had to take several steps back.

Literally.

As a standout running back and state champion sprinter at TrinityAcademy in Wichita, Burns went full speed ahead and few, if any, could keep up. But when he switched to defensive back at K-State, it abruptly threw his thought process into reverse.

"I spent a big part of my life running forward, and now backpedaling is a big change," said Burns, a junior, who, after two years of learning the ropes, is finally ready to claim a starting job at cornerback. "I think backpedaling and just keeping my eyes in the right position and seeing the field and knowing the defense is huge for me."

In high school, where he rushed for 2,700 yards his last two seasons on offense, Burns also was a safety on defense. But it scarcely prepared him for the intricacies of playing cornerback at the Division I level.

"You don't really realize how technical corner is," Burns said. "I played safety, but at my high school there really wasn't much technique to it.

"I just kind of did whatever and roamed the field."

While serving his apprenticeship at corner, Burns excelled on special teams for the Wildcats and he remains a candidate to join All-American Tyler Lockett on kickoff returns. The next step is becoming a full-time defensive player.

"Coming here to K-State and starting from scratch, I really had to learn a lot," Burns said. "It's cool because I was under a lot of great corners and (safeties) Ty Zimmerman and Dante Barnett, who are great leaders in the defensive secondary."

Zimmerman, a four-year standout, is gone, leaving just Barnett and nickelback Randall Evans as returning starters in the secondary. That not only left Burns battling for a starting job, but also taking a leadership role with a crew of inexperienced corners.

"It's been interesting because I haven't had a lot of playing time," Burns said. "I've always been a backup and played a lot of special teams.

"Now I have to step up and provide leadership in that area where I haven't really had a lot of time on the field. It's a great opportunity, I'm excited for it and I really have to rise to the occasion."

Defensive coordinator Tom Hayes, who also works with the defensive backs, expressed confidence in Burns.

"He's been in our program a long time, has done well on special team and is a fast guy," Hayes said. "But he needed time to mature and I think he's doing a nice job.

"He's a team leader for sure and he's an unbelievable worker in the offseason."

Burns clearly is much more polished now as well.

"Two years ago we always said, 'Morgan Burns, you've got the speed,' but he didn't have that cornerback mentality because he was a running back in high school," said Evans, a three-year starter at nickelback. "Now he knows what a receiver does and he's not just using speed.

"He's using his smarts now. His IQ has gone up a lot at the cornerback."

Burns calls it a natural progression.

"I've had some time on the field and coach Hayes is a great coach," he said. "He has a lot of experience and he's coached me well.

"I feel comfortable with what I'm doing now. I don't have to think and hesitate as much."

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