Some day in the future, when things have returned to something resembling ‘normal’, when football teams are allowed to operate in their old routines again, USC will hold a team meeting. And at the front of the room, Reggie Bush will finally get to address the next generation of Trojans.
“I know one thing for sure, he’s going to have all eyes and ears on him,” said Keary Colbert, USC’s receivers coach and a teammate of Bush’s during his Trojan days. “I know what he means to the guys on our team. I know how excited they were just to play in front of him last year without getting to talk to him.”
The former Heisman winner’s disassociation with USC ended two weeks ago. It allows Bush to be an alumnus again at the university a decade after the NCAA handed down sanctions related to Bush accepting money from marketing agents during his college career.
Bush said two weeks ago that the thing he is most excited about, more than his welcome home at the Coliseum or the possibility of having his jersey retired, is giving back to the current members of the football program. Passing down his wisdom and experiences for them to learn from.
“For me I think the thing he can teach them the most is how he got to be such a special football player,” Colbert said. “I was fortunate enough to be a teammate of his and I got to see him work every day. He was one of the hardest workers on the team; probably the hardest worker on the team.”
Colbert was a senior when Bush arrived on campus as a freshman in 2003. Even in his first summer with the team, Bush left an impression on the older players around him.
That summer, the Trojans would do their typical workouts, like 110-meter sprints. Only, before the workout began, Bush would strap a 25-pound weight vest. Only then would he begin to go about the exercises.
“It got to a point where even our strength coaches would go, ‘Man, maybe we should incorporate that with everybody,’ ” Colbert recalled. “He was different, man. A different breed. He raised the bar for a lot of people around him. I think his mindset was to always push the envelope.”
Colbert expects a sense of awe in the room or on the practice field the first time Bush pays the Trojans a visit. He remembers feeling the same way during his playing career when he met the likes of Willie McGinest and Marcus Allen.
But he expects that to eventually fade, and for Bush to just be another member of the USC community.
“There comes a point where it’s like that’s a big brother right there,” Colbert said. “The more and more you genuinely build relationships with the guys, the more you’re able to see them and see them as real people. They’re not coming around to stand on a pedestal. They’re coming around to offer advice and offer support.”