After last week's tough conference loss at home against Gardner-Webb, the Charleston Southern football team has used this week to refocus and reset. Senior punter Truett Burns says the team is taking that defeat and channeling it into motivation for what's expected to be an even tougher conference match against Liberty this week.
"I think every now and then every team needs an eye-opener, and I think that's what last weekend's loss was for us."
In the midst of a tough week of practice, the Clinton, S.C. raised, Louisiana-born senior sat down with us so we could get to know more about the player behind the punt.
Favorite pro-sports team: Denver Broncos
Favorite pre-game meal: Grilled chicken
Secret talent or fact: I play bass guitar. I play in church and I've been playing since the fifth grade.
Favorite class: Zoology
What is your spirit animal? I would say my spirit animal is an elephant because they're quiet and laid back, but still respected.
Strangest nickname you have: Just recently a player on the team, Kyle, started calling me T-Dawg.
Most surprising/embarrassing song on your iPhone/iPod: I still have music on there from like fifth grade, so it would probably be some Hilary Duff.
Two words to describe you on the field: Quiet and determined
Two words to describe you off the field: My fiancé would probably say I'm annoying at some points and funny.
Best advice you've ever gotten: Don't look back. Make your decisions and keep going because the past is in the past and you can't do anything about it.
Favorite ice cream flavor: Cookies and cream
Mountains or beach? Beach
Favorite sporting moment from your time here at CSU: My favorite memory would have to be beating Appalachian State my freshman year.
What are your three best punts from your collegiate career? Colorado would be one- I had a 71-yarder there. North Dakota would be another, because it was a big punt at the end of the game. Lastly, I'm a huge Georgia Bulldog fan, so playing there as a sophomore would be the third one.
Favorite TV show: I'm going to go with the old throwback of Scooby-Doo.
Have you ever dressed up as Shaggy for Halloween? Yes, I have. I did that back in high school.
Place you would most like to visit? I would like to go back to Switzerland, that was fun. They have amazing mountains and the whole feel of it is very laid back.
Favorite sport to play/watch outside of football: Soccer for both. I played three sports in high school and soccer was the only other one I was getting recruited for.
What made you choose to play college football instead of soccer? I really like both sports, but my dad was my inspiration to play football. He loves football and always wanted to play in college. He went to school here back when CSU was Baptist College, and I thought it would be really cool for him to see me play here. He hasn't missed one game.
Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals? Yes, I have a few. I wear the same clothes. I have the same game day socks and underwear. I do the same thing before every game, listen to the same playlist, same order. I take a shower before I leave for the game, then take another when I get to the game. When we go out to say our prayer in the circle, I walk down and I say a prayer for the team and I walk back and say a prayer for me and Brittney, and I stay out of the end zones because I don't want a touchback during the game.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Louisiana Crawfish Étouffée
What do you miss most about living in Louisiana? The laid back feel. When you go there, there's no agenda. It's all about enjoying the moments in life and not taking things too seriously.
If you were a superhero, who would you be? If I were a superhero, I would be Batman because his car is pretty cool.
Which Batman would you be? I would be Dark Knight, so the Christian Bale Batman.
What are your hobbies outside of football? I do a lot of fishing, but another secret talent of mine is that I actually make t-shirt blankets and sell them to people. My mom taught me how to do it, so it's a way for me to make some money on the side.
If you could go back in time, what decade would you travel to? The Roaring Twenties
What are you going to miss most about being a student-athlete at CSU? I'll miss the brothers on the team. The whole team is really close and we always have each other's backs.
If you could choose, what would your walk-up song be? 'Air Force Ones' by Nelly
What do you want to do when you graduate? I actually already have a job at Perdue Farms. I'm going to be working in Dillon, S.C. and they're going to start me in a management program.
Burns says he's confident that the skills he's learned as a student-athlete will transfer over to the real world and help him overcome life's challenges after college.
"Coach Padilla has definitely helped me out in a lot of ways," Burns said. "When you first come in, it's kind of a shock because of his military-style of teaching. But then you realize this game isn't just a game for him. He looks beyond football and is coaching you on how to be a man, a husband and a father one day, God willing. He's definitely helped me mature and get my emotions in check."
Burns says his strategy for the rest of the season is to perform his job as a punter better than anyone else on the team and to soak up every moment that's left of his collegiate career.
"It's not even about winning the ring to me, it's about playing as long as I can now, because this is it," Burns said. "I just want to play for as many games as I can. I told my dad the other day, I may only have two games left, and I don't know if I'm ready for that."
Over the next two weeks, the Buccaneers will face the toughest teams in the conference as they look for a share of the Big South title and an FCS Playoff bid. CSU will take on undefeated Liberty (4-0) on the road this Saturday, and Kennesaw State (2-1) in their last home game next Saturday. Kickoff at Liberty is set for 3:30 p.m. on ESPN3 and live stats are available on csusports.com.