Aug. 21, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
There was a time, about two years ago, when Freddie Burden could tell you the in’s and out’s of just about every other offense BUT Georgia Tech’s. As an incoming freshman, he regularly played on scout team, mimicking the Yellow Jackets’ upcoming opponents.
Burden proved pretty good at his required task and was recognized at season’s end by head coach Paul Johnson and his staff as 2012 scout team offensive player of the year.
He never got a chance to show how well he’d picked up Johnson’s spread option in 2013, as a knee injury suffered during the summer, forced him to miss the entire season.
With the 2014 season-opener only eight days away, Burden, now a redshirt-sophomore, is healthy and determined to show everyone just what he’s learned and how much he can contribute to keeping the Yellow Jackets as one of the nation’s most productive ground offenses.
Burden, who will face personal family grudges this season on Sept. 13, when Tech hosts Georgia Southern, where his mom and dad work, and on Nov. 8 at N.C. State, his dad’s alma mater, took a few minutes to talk with The Good Word about where he’s hoping he’ll spend a lot of time on Saturdays, where he’ll miss spending more time on Sundays, and where he wishes he spent less time every day.
1. THE GOOD WORD: How is your knee and where are you physically compared to prior to the injury?
Freddie Burden: It’s feeling great. I feel like I’m back to full speed. It was good going through camp, getting adjusted to hitting and everything. Now I’m ready to take on the season. I can’t even tell I had surgery anymore. I feel a lot stronger in the weight room, on the field I feel stronger. Anything I do I feel stronger.
2. TGW: Coach Johnson has said that if the season-opener were to be played tomorrow you’d start at center. How does it feel to get such an endorsement?
BURDEN: It’s nice, but I still have a lot of work to do. We still have some guys that are pretty good behind me. Thomas O’Reilly is really good and Andrew Marshall, a freshman, is coming along really well — faster than anybody I’ve ever seen. So, that’s just for today. Things could happen tomorrow and I could be second string. I definitely have to keep working and keep going forward.
3. TGW: You’re a Statesboro native and your dad went to N.C. State. How much are you looking forward to facing Georgia Southern and, later on, visiting N.C. State?
BURDEN: Both my parents work at Georgia Southern. My mom told me she’s rooting for Georgia Southern and Freddie Burden. That was kind of funny but I’m excited. I can’t wait to play. Hopefully she’ll wear navy blue and gold (laughs). My dad, at home he’s always pushing Wolfpack this, Wolfpack that. But at the end of day he wanted me to go where I wanted to go and where I felt comfortable. The best decision for me was to come here.
4. TGW: You were voted by teammates as one of the guys that spends too much time on social media. Do you agree?
BURDEN: (Laughs) I do. I spend a lot of time on Twitter. Twitter’s my favorite. But I use it to reach out to the fans and get everybody hyped about the season, so I think it’s good for those reasons. But, yeah, I definitely use it a lot. I think I’m at around 1,500 followers.
5. TGW: Who is the most interesting person you follow and who follows you?
BURDEN: I follow [GT junior safety/kick-returner] Jamal Golden. He’s always positive. He’s always tweeting about the season. We both want to push the team any way we can, so, definitely, Jamal. Who follows me? Both the Pouncey twins (Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice and Miami center Mike) follow me, and (Kansas City Chiefs linebacker) Justin Houston, as well. He’s from Statesboro. They all follow me. It’s kind of cool.
BONUS: TGW: You’ve said your favorite place to eat on campus is Chick-fil-A. Where do you go on Sunday?
BURDEN: Really the best place in Atlanta to go on Sunday is Mary Mac’s. It’s really good soul food. But I’ve got to stay away from that. Now that the season’s here I can’t be gaining too much weight. So I have to watch my weight.
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