Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Burrows a standout in East Bay offense

GIBSONTON

There is little glory in being one of the running backs in East Bay's triple-option wishbone offense. There are never enough carries to go around. Every night there could be a different hero according to the script written, depending on how sophomore quarterback Fred Porter reads the defense. In last Friday night's 51-25 season-opening win over Riverview, it was senior fullback Chaz Burrows who carried the load, running for 262 yards on just 15 carries — all between the tackles — and three touchdowns.

"I wasn't surprised," Burrows said. "That's our offense. Somebody's going to be hot. If they take me away, the running backs and the quarterbacks are destined to get hot. It's just how the night worked out."

Burrows entered this season as one of the county's most underrated talents. And at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, he might be undersized but he's the perfect fit for his spot in East Bay's offense, where it is important to have a player who runs hard between the tackles.

"He can stop on a dime," coach Brian Thornton said. "He can make you fall down because he has such great feet. He has great balance and great acceleration."

Last Friday night, Burrows broke the 2,000-yard mark for his career after rushing for more than 900 yards in each of the past two years. He did so by breaking off long runs and consistently breaking through into the Sharks' secondary — averaging 17.5 yards a carry.

He hopes to build on that mark in tonight's home opener against Durant.

"We're running the wishbone and other teams have these feature backs where ours is more team-oriented," Burrows said. "We don't have one guy who gets 20-plus carries a night. It can be frustrating at times, but I work hard and try to get noticed, but I know I'm under the radar. Hopefully, this will be my breakout year."

Inside the wishbone

The run-oriented Indians are the county's only team that still runs a triple-option offense through a wishbone formation. Once extremely popular in the college game, the wishbone has disappeared from most playbooks as defenses have become quicker.

"The fact that we're the only team that still runs it probably helps us in the long run," Thornton said.

In East Bay's wishbone attack, Burrows is the first option as the dive back — the fullback who sets up behind the quarterback with two running backs flanked behind him.

After the snap, Porter puts the ball into the chest of Burrows as he bursts between the tackles. Depending on how the quarterback reads the defense, he can either hand off to Burrows or pull it back and run across the line with his other two backs in tow.

That's what made Burrows' 262-yard, three-touchdown season debut most impressive.

"Those were all read plays," Thornton said. "I didn't call Chaz's number once all night."

Prompting notice

Burrows knows he's undersized. He has worked hard to build on the 5-foot-5, 140-pound frame he had as a freshman.

Since Burrows is short, his game relies on his speed, his powerful legs churning to gain yards. And his biggest improvement has been leg strength; he can squat nearly 500 pounds.

"I'm not going to rush for 200-plus yards every night," Burrows said. "I just want schools to recognize that I'm going to work."

Still, he hasn't garnered much college interest — yet. Florida Atlantic, Duke and Navy have shown interest. Some schools, like Georgia Tech, want to see his tape after the first two games.

His coach is confident Burrows will show this season that he can play at a major D-I program.

"He can be, without a doubt, but it's got to be a coach who isn't hung up on his size," Thornton said. "We use him as a fullback, but he can be a single back or a wing back."

Burrows a standout in East Bay offense 09/11/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 12, 2008 5:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White

    Footballpreps

    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]