In 2009, wide receiver Kris Burd was the Cavaliers' top receiver, leading the team with 413 receiving yards and averaging just over 10 yards per catch. Now, with only four games under his belt, the junior has already amassed 378 yards, averaging 17.2 yards per catch and 94.5 yards per game and four touchdowns. Coach Mike London attributes this success to his maturity and self-confidence.
Even in his early evaluations last spring and during August practice, London "just knew that Kris is a young man and has a tremendous amount of confidence in himself and his ability," he said Wednesday afternoon.
"I think having the opportunity to now being a featured guy, or a step-up guy, or a starter he's a little bit older so he's matured a little more. That's what happens when you have players who've been around a little bit, they've matured a little bit, they've played in some games, played in big games and then they have early success. It breeds confidence. I think that's the thing that Kris has had the benefit of."
Being a featured player is something that happened naturally, London said.
"He can run. He can block. He can do different things. When you have that type of success, it breeds the type of confidence that he has. He already had the confidence part coming in, but it's made him a better player, and now we're relying on him to be a better leader for us on the offensive side of the ball."
And it hasn't just made him a better player, it's opened up room for others, as well.
"The benefit of him doing some really nice things in practice," Londons aid, is that "it's also allowed the emergence of Dontrelle Inman who's done some nice things also."
Inman is the No. 2 receiver for the Hoos, with 254 receiving yards and averaging 14.1 yards per catch with two touchdowns. The senior only had 80 yards in 2009, in part because he missed the first two games of the season due to injury.
Don't be surprised if you see Burd taking on an even greater role for the team.
"He's a really good special teams player. He's a complete player. He can catch punts, he can do all those things. We haven't used him to catch punts, but we may."
"His worth for the team has increased because he can do so many different things, and it's to our benefit to accentuate the playmakers and he's one of them for sure."