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A Little More on this Keith Burns Guy

The Ole Miss Rebel football staff changes continue to unfold as Houston Nutt has added Keith Burns, the Kansas State defensive backs coach, to the Ole Miss staff to perform the same duties. This isn't, as Sam pointed out earlier, a radical shakeup, considering Burns' past with Houston Nutt at Arkansas, but it certainly a welcomed change nonetheless. The Rebel defensive backfield was atrocious last year and turned out one of the worst defensive performances in all of Division 1 football, demonstrating a lack of depth, senior talent, and coaching prowess. While Burns isn't going to transform this unit overnight into even a good group of pass defenders, he can certainly make them respectable enough to compete.

I know this isn't at all that reliable of a metric, considering the widely differing personnel and schedules over such a short data sample, but let's look at how the Kansas State defensive backs performed last season versus the same of the Ole Miss Rebels.

2010 Kansas State Ole Miss
Opponents' Passing Yards Per Game 214.31 (5th in Big XII)
246.33 (11th in SEC*)
Opponents' Passer Rating Per Game
126.28 (7th in Big XII) 151.03 (Last in SEC)
Interceptions 13 (8th in Big XII) 6 (Last in SEC)


Here's a more glaring statistical difference: Kansas State's pass effeciency defense was ranked 55th nationally while Ole Miss' was 109th. Their interception total was 49th while ours was 114th. (Good grief, we couldn't defend the pass whatsoever.)

There's obviously way more to this and I could have done more research and dug into other seasons and teams and such but, c'mon, I'm tired and it's Friday. Hell, it's not like you need any convincing that some new hires on the defensive side of things needed to be made anyway, right?

Before his tenure at Kansas State, Burns was the head coach at Tulsa, the defensive coordinator at Arkansas, and the defensive coordinator at USC. Here's a short snippet from the corporate headquarters regarding Burns' career:

In Burns' two seasons at his alma mater Arkansas, the Razorback defense improved from a national ranking of 103rd to within the top 20 in total defense. During his tenure, Arkansas made consecutive bowl appearances, and following the 1998 campaign, Burns was one of five finalists for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.

Prior to Arkansas, he spent five seasons under John Robinson at USC with the final four as defensive coordinator. There, his defensive units ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense in 1994, first in the Pac-10 in scoring defense in 1995, second in total defense in 1996 and first in rushing defense in 1997.

So there's at least enough coaching experience there for we at the Cup to get a bit excited over the hire. And, when taking this move in conjunction with the Gunter Brewer and David Lee moves, it's clear to us that Nutt's doing what he can to distance himself and his program from last season's debacle. We'll take it, for now.

As of right now, we don't know what this means for coaches Vaughn and Dameron, but we're not imagining good things (BACK TO THE SUN BELT WITH YE).


*Last in the SEC in passing yards a game? Interestingly enough, Auburn.