Up Close with Coach Keith Burns
Aug. 22, 2000
What is your general football philosophy?
What makes Keith Burns tick?
I've been fortunate to be around great people. I've had great coaches throughout junior high, high school and college. Guys that influenced my life and made me want to get into this profession.
When my father passed away my senior year at Arkansas. That's real. As coaches, this is how we make our living, but as long as you keep it in perspective I'm going to give you all I have and poor my heart into it, but I also know I have a family and people that love and support me. That's how I keep everything in perspective.
Why can Tulsa football be successful?
We're going to work and make a commitment to it. From the minute we arrived til now, everything we've done is talk about winning, about bowl games, about being the best team in theWAC. But along with the talk, I think we've worked hard to be that and obviously our evaluation time is coming. But, to this point we're a team headed in the right direction. You have to believe you'll be successful, and it all starts with attitude.
I have the book the First Fifty Years of Golden Hurricane Football, it's been one of my summer vacation projects. It's interesting to tap into how successful Tulsa football has been. There was a time when Tulsa was a great football team. They were the one feared and respected. If you've never had it , I don't know if you can ever get it. But if you've had it, I think you can tap back into it. Tulsa has been to two bowl games in the last 11 years, so it's not like it hasn't happened forever.
What is your recruiting philosophy?
We're going to build our team with players from this state. They have the most pride in being from Oklahoma and seeing Tulsa be successful. We'll have to recruit really hard into Texas -- east Texas, Dallas/Fort Worth Area, and Houston -- and build a reputation there that we can go in and get the best players.
To me, you have to believe. If you don't believe it, I don't think it will ever happen, and you'll have a real hard time convincing anyone else that it will happen.
Who have been your influences in football?
Then, obviously, Lou Holtz. What I took from coach Holtz was organization and preparation. He might be the best at that. He definitely has a plan and works to make that plan come to life.
I think Don Lindsey (defensive coordinator at Arkansas) taught me a strategic part of the game. He had a great X-and-O scheme philosophy about pressuring and attacking the football. I think he was ahead of his time from a schematic standpoint.
Fundamental football I learned from Fred Goldsmith at Rice, when I worked with him for four years. He might be the best teacher of fundamental football I've ever been around, and he truly believes it. He was a great technician.
The guy who influenced me the most, without a doubt, is John Robinson. Coach Robinson makes it hard for a lot of coaches because not only does he win and has won at the highest level, both in college and professional football, he makes it so much fun that you can't wait for the next meeting, next practice or next time you'll be around him. I think that's a rare guy who can do that. He's a team man all the way. He enjoys every aspect of the game. Everything that I've learned from coach Robinson has not only made me a better coach, but a better person.
From Houston Nutt, what I took was that he was not afraid to change. The job at Arkansas with Coach Broyles, and how successful he had been, there's always pressure to do it like he did. I think Houston understood that and respected it, but he was going to do it his own way, and I liked that.
How important to fill Skelly Stadium?
Our responsibility in making that happen is to put a competitive football team that will play the game the right way, going to hustle, give great effort and play an exciting brand of football that will make people come and see us. I'm a fan of all sports, and the one's I like watching do those things -- they're exciting, there's always flare for the unexpected or the dramatic. That's what we have to become as a football team. Everybody respects and appreciates teams that compete.
We have a great city. It's the best one in Oklahoma in my opinion. They'll back a winner, everybody does, but I think they'll also support a team that plays the game the right way -- one that competes and leaves it all on the field.
What do you want your players to say about Keith Burns?
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