Burnsville senior linebacker/running back Steph Olson Jr. helped lead the football program’s resurgence last season and is expecting another successful season this fall. The Blaze was 9-2 and finished 7-1 in the South Suburban conference.


Q: What was behind the team’s success last season?

A: We had a senior class that was tough, but the junior class that will be seniors this year stepped up and I’m excited for the season.


Q: What did you learn from the experience?

A: The more we come together as a team, the more communication we have and the more discipline on the field we will have.


Q: When did you realize things were starting to turn around for the program?

A: I can’t pick a specific game because I felt every game there was a sign we were heading the right way. Even when we had a tough game against Lakeville North and lost [29-18], the game was still fun.


Q: How has your role changed this season?

A: Last year there were a lot of seniors that were leaders, and this year I’m kind of leading with a lot of my best friends. It is kind of different because I’m leading, but I’m ready.


Q: How did you prepare this offseason?

A: I did summer weightlifting. I did a few leadership meetings with coaches, the basics of being a leader and what a leader stands for. … There have been a couple little things I didn’t know was leadership. Doing things like that helps the team.


Q: You had a strong season last year on defense and offense. What position, running back or linebacker, do you like more?

A: I prefer running back because you have the ball in your hands and you get to run the ball. But I’m really comfortable in the defensive position. … If you just do your job, good things will happen.


Q: How has last year’s success inspired the team heading into fall practice?

A: We got a little taste of [success] last year, and I’m ready, I’m hungry. It is just about doing your job and being where you’re supposed to be. … I’m ready to start the season and have fun.