November 24, 2009
Burnett is ready for UGA
Rivalry week. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. Georgia Tech and Georgia, two schools separated by only 70 miles, will meet for the 104th time this weekend. For many players and fans, the rivalry extends even further than just the playing field. Junior safety Morgan Burnett is part of a family divided, as his brother Cap Burnett played safety at UGA from 1998-2002.
Morgan talked about the rivalry and the quality relationship that he and his brother have. He said, "Me and my brother are real close. We are more like best friends and we tell each other everything. My brother was highly recruited and he was a real good football player in high school. I look up to him as a role model. Going to the games when they played Georgia Tech was great and the atmosphere was awesome. It is a rivalry game and the stadium is always full. Great players have played against each other in the game and they are now in the NFL. It gets you pumped up knowing that you will be a part of that history with all of the players that played before us."
Burnett chose Tech over UGA and has quickly become one of he greatest defensive players in Jacket history. He was an All-American last year as a sophomore and has followed that up with another outstanding season this year. He currently ranks in the top 10 among defensive backs in the ACC with 5.2 tackles per game, he is 11th in total passes defended with eight break-ups, and he is seventh in the ACC in interceptions with four. Burnett is shooting up the Georgia Tech career record books too, where he stands 13th among defensive backs with 207 total tackles and second in career interceptions with 14. Keep in mind that these totals have been reached in less than three seasons.
Burnett refused to give himself praise and instead spoke about his expectations for the team. In his words, "Our defense is going to come in and play the best that we can play. Right now, we are 10-1 and we are looking forward to improving and getting better. I'm not worried about individual stats, especially as long as the team is winning."
As much as he would like to avoid individual recognition, Burnett will be a key to the game this Saturday at Bobby Dodd. He is a leader on the field and he had an important individual play last year against the Bulldogs. Burnett picked off former quarterback and current Detroit Lion, Matthew Stafford, and then juked former running back and current Denver Bronco, Knowshon Moreno out of his shoes on the way to the end zone for a touchdown. The play set an early tone for the defense. This year he will have the task of spying UGA's big-play receiving threat, A.J. Green.
"I look forward to playing against good athletes like A.J. Green and those types of players," he said. "Playing against a higher level of competition like that will always make you better."
The atmosphere entering the game will be a little different than in recent years. The combination of breaking UGA's seven game victory streak last season and UGA's disappointing record this year will make Tech the huge favorites going in. The Bulldogs are only 6-5, unranked, while Tech is 10-1, and ranked seventh in the nation.
Despite these factors, Burnett still maintains respect for their opponents. According to him, "Georgia is always a dangerous team. They are a very good team and there will be many emotions flying in this game as always. It's big for both them and us and I know that they will bring their A-game and we need to come prepared to bring our A-game as well."
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