News broke overnight that New York Giants head coach and former Saban assistant Joe Judge has pegged Burton Burns to be his running backs coach.
It’s a return to coaching for Burns, who helped Alabama in an administrative role the last two years after serving as the Tide’s running backs coach from 2007 through 2017 and coaching two Heisman winners (Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry), another Heisman finalist (Trent Richardson) as well as other highly productive running backs such as Glen Coffee, Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and Damien Harris.
At 67 years of age and coming off of major knee surgery, Coach Burns has to know that there isn’t much time left for him to get back on the field, and the NFL is probably better suited for him since he won’t have to deal with the rigors of recruiting. Make no mistake about it though, Burns has been an ace recruiter for Alabama, particularly in his native state of Louisiana.
He is also not only well respected for his ability, but universally beloved by his players. Check out a couple of quotes from The Advocate back in 2017:
“First of all, Coach Burns is a father figure and the type of man I aspire to be like,” said Harris, who is tied with Bo Jackson for the best career yards-per-carry average (7.0) in SEC history of anyone with 300 carries or more. “But as far as football, he wants running backs who don’t want to be tackled. Just because there is a guy there doesn’t mean he should tackle you...
Said head coach Nick Saban: “I’d like to know what running backs coach in the country has had the type of backs he’s had and the success he’s had for a lot of years.”
When the news broke that he was headed to the Giants, Alabama’s first ever Heisman winner weighed in with his thoughts.
Barkley is indeed getting a fantastic coach, and Burns is accustomed to coaching elite talent. That has a chance to be a perfect pairing.
Best of luck, Coach Burns, and thank you for everything you brought to the program.