Burn­ham’s con­sult­ing in­flu­ence con­tin­ues for Hogs

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - NATE ALLEN

FAYET­TEVILLE — The Ra­zor­backs don’t just have an ex­tra pair of eyes ob­serv­ing as a con­sul­tant to Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema’s foot­ball staff.

They have an ar­chi­tect. Or at least a co-ar­chi­tect. Be­fore com­ing to the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville last year as a foot­ball con­sul­tant while Paul Rhoads joined Bielema’s staff as de­fen­sive back­field coach, Wally Burn­ham was Rhoads’ de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor at Iowa State.

De­spite Iowa State’s mostly down­trod­den his­tory in the Big 12 and Big Eight be­fore that, Rhoads and Burn­ham as­sem­bled de­fenses gust­ing the Cy­clones to three con­sec­u­tive bowl games. When their 4-3 de­fense faded — as Arkansas’ 4-3 de­fense de­clined last year in Robb Smith’s fi­nal year as Arkansas’ de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor fol­low­ing Smith’s spec­tac­u­lar 2014 de­but — Rhoads and Burn­ham re­built the Cy­clones from a 4-3 to a 3-4 de­fense as Rhoads does now un­der Bielema.

While not sav­ing Rhoads’ job go­ing 3-9, Iowa State’s new scheme dras­ti­cally im­proved its 2015 de­fen­sive stats over 2014.

Burn­ham, 74, re­tired from ac­tive coach­ing af­ter Iowa State but agreed to be an Arkansas con­sul­tant.

With Rhoads now de­fen­sively in charge, pre­sum­ably Burn­ham’s con­sult­ing in­flu­ence in­creases.

It cer­tainly should, Pete Cordelli as­serts. Cordelli, a for­mer Lou Holtz as­sis­tant at Arkansas, Min­ne­sota and Notre Dame and head coach at Kent State, coached with Burn­ham un­der the late Rex Dock­ery at Mem­phis State, now the Univer­sity of Mem­phis.

In 1980, Cordelli coached run­ning backs while Burn­ham coached lineback­ers at Mem­phis. Post Mem­phis, Burn­ham joined Bobby Bowden’s even­tual Florida State na­tional cham­pi­onship staff that in­cluded renowned de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mickey An­drews. Burn­ham then made his de­fen­sive co­or­di­nat­ing mark at South Carolina, South Florida and Iowa State.

“Wally’s an ex­cel­lent foot­ball coach and been a great de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor ev­ery­where he’s been,” Cordelli said. “Wally in the de­vel­op­ment of the de­fense … that’s huge. If Paul lets Wally have in­put, Arkansas is go­ing to be bet­ter. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of Paul Rhoads and Wally Burn­ham.”

Burn­ham has been out of town, Rhoads said Sat­ur­day, but ob­vi­ously his ob­ser­va­tions will be heeded upon his re­turn.

“Wally is a tremen­dous foot­ball coach,” Rhoads said. “And he’s been do­ing this a LONG time. The abil­ity to have a guy here that co­or­di­nated this de­fense when I was at Iowa State and have that knowl­edge to help out as well as his vi­sion and ob­ser­va­tions that he will pro­vide as an an­a­lyst is go­ing to be very in­valu­able to us.”

Though a renowned de­fen­sive mind, Burn­ham isn’t a mir­a­cle healer.

The Hogs could use one. They be­gan pre­sea­son drills last Thurs­day like they ended spring drills: Mi­nus their best line­backer and best re­ceiver.

They miss ju­nior 2-year start­ing line­backer Dre Green­law, break­ing in slowly off his twice-bro­ken foot, and se­nior re­ceiver Jared Cor­nelius, 32 catches for 515 yards last year, idled by an ail­ing back.

How­ever, Bielema says bet­ter to use this early prac­tice time to get oth­ers ready and truly get Green­law and Cor­nelius well.

Heal­ing time beats has­ten­ing back to risk in­jury every time.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.