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Sunday
Apr092006

I Love Bush

Can't help it.

Here's a "before they were stars" type story about Reggie Bush from Rivals.com.  It's a feature of their new NFL draft section, as they profile players like Bush, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Michael Huff.

Excerpt-

What's your (former coach Gordon Wood) fondest game memory of him?---I think of a game that we didn't win. It was our championship game against Oceanside. There were great players on that field, and he literally played to exhaustion.

This isn't a great memory, but he had to be carted off the field afterward. They had to take him to a special room to get IVs.

That sums up the kind of player he is. He's so committed to the game, and he has such a drive to succeed and do whatever he has to do. He's always wanting to win, but he's also humble about it.

I've heard rumblings to the effect that Bush has played himself to exhaustion after many college games, particularly his junior year when he was getting heavy use.  Apparently his parents had to more or less carry him onto the team bus from the locker room after the Notre Dame game, after already having been administered IVs.

People will long-remember the inexplicable and ill-fated pitch to a teammate after a long run in the first half that Texas ended up recovering.  However, in typical Bush fashion, he went out in style.  His last collegiate carry was that jaw-dropping 26 yard touchdown run where he leaped into the endzone after turning the corner on the speedy Texas secondary and even blowing past the angle Longhorn Superman Michael Huff had on him.  It was a truly amazing run.

Now it's the NFL's turn to enjoy (or destroy) him. 

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Reader Comments (6)

How do you think Reggie Bush will do in the NFL?
April 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDR U
Very well.

Some of it depends on how thickheaded his eventual coaches are, but if people see him in the context of a playmaker and guy who can be the difference with the ball in his hands, he'll thrive.

I've seen way too many games where he pulled rabbits out of that hat of his... those guys are just so rare, and they are great at any level. Reggie's one of those guys.

This draft class is lucky enough to have two such guys in Bush and Young.

The numbers aren't always going to be amazing (although as he adjusts I think they'll soar), but it might be a thing where he's feared and making a lot of plays like his frosh and soph years at USC but the numbers don't arrive until that junior year when the coaches realized just how much they could do with him despite sharing a backfield.

The guy is nothing if not driven. He's willed himself into a lot of great plays and those plays have made his team better. Same thing will happen in the NFL. Everything is there, the speed, the vision, the toughness, the playmaking ability, the magic, the only argument working against him is "size" but he's a kid who is very strong and has a frame to grow as he grows.

He came into college at around 180 and was probably around 205 his senior year, now 201 at the combine. He can bulk up more if needed, but it will come at the cost of some of his speed. I think he'll get into that 210-215 range not right away, but a few seasons in when his speed has experienced the natural dip that comes with the wear-and-tear of 16-game NFL seasons and he can comfortably add more bulk and weight without losing much from his no longer special speed. But that's just a hunch.

But in the early going I think we'll see a guy who will do nothing but improve his first 1-3 seasons at his athletic peak, learn the job, and then if he's still healthy (always an unknown in the NFL), will transition from athletic marvel and playmaker to dominant player with very good no longer great athleticism but the necessary football skills at the NFL level.
April 9, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
Do you think that he will still be returning punts and kick-offs in the NFL? Or will he be offense only?
April 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick
He's got a shot.

I don't know if whoever takes him is going to try and slowly work him in, get him playing special teams first, or if they devote more time to making him an offensive football player which keeps him off the return units.

Some people feel he's an overrated returner, but in my eyes he's got the ability.

In other words I don't know, my best guess is he'll do it if the coaches don't care about the injury risk and/or don't see him contributing heavily on offense right away and don't have competition ahead of him at the return spots already.
April 9, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
You mentioned that he played himself to exhaustion during games. If you remove him from the Special Teams aspect, you remove some 6-7 touches. That would probably help him cope with the rigors of the 16 game schedule.
Plus, don't NFL teams typically have special teams specialists on the roster?
April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick
Sounds reasonable.

NFL teams have some specialists (usually late round picks who aren't starter-ready yet) but they also have very small rosters. Guys need to pull a lot of weight on NFL rosters, usually playing special teams unless they're the QB or a high salary guy.

I wish I knew, NFL's not my greatest expertise---but I do know it'd be extremely rare for a guy of Bush's nature and abilities---to not thrive in that league at some point.
April 11, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR

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