Tailback: Winning trophy ‘amazing’

first_imgTime for a little remodeling at Heritage Hall. Some basic expansion is in order. At least break ground for a separate Heisman Trophy wing. Tailback Reggie Bush made the Heritage Hall lobby a tad more cramped Saturday when the living highlight reel was awarded USC’s record-tying seventh Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trophy Committee should just drop the facade and relocate from New York to the University of Southern California campus, the award’s adopted home. Bush gave USC an unprecedented three Heisman winners in four years. Notre Dame is the only other school to produce seven winners, but it has had only one since 1964. USC didn’t start its run until Mike Garrett in 1965. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals The Trojans are now less Tailback U or Quarterback U than Heisman U. They should update the trophy and paint a little Trojan on the side of the running back’s helmet. Or just melt the whole thing and replace it with a mini Tommy Trojan. All that and now they have another unfair advantage. USC players will have to become nimble afoot just to traverse the Heritage Hall lobby and dodge the burgeoning trophy display. The most recognizable individual sports award in the country, and USC has turned it into a private affair. Saturday’s vote wasn’t even close. Much as he had all year, Bush ran away from the field. Left it dazzled and bewildered. He won all six regions and received a record 84.9 percent of the first-place votes. “This is amazing,” Bush said. “It’s truly an honor to be elected into this fraternity of Heisman winners. “To think I’ve been in college three years and this is the first time I’ve been invited to a fraternity.” A national fraternity that might as well adopt cardinal and gold as its official colors. Bush finished with 2,541 points, easily topping Texas quarterback Vince Young at 1,608 and USC quarterback Matt Leinart at 796. Leinart will have to make do with winning the Heisman last year. “The right guy won,” Leinart said. Bush, Leinart and Young appear to have gotten real cozy last week, navigating the country together on the college football awards circuit. They’ll take on different roles Jan. 4 when they lead their teams in the national championship game at the Rose Bowl. Then USC will be attempting to capture an unprecedented third consecutive national championship. “Unprecedented” and “USC,” they’re getting linked more often than Brad and Angelina. USC has won an amazing 34 consecutive games and its success as a team has reaped unparalleled – that’s another word for unprecedented – individual honors. Saturday’s Heisman hardly came as a surprise. Bush did the superhuman bit this season. Every time he touched the ball, people held their breaths. He could accelerate, stop on a blade of grass, and then accelerate again. Maybe like no one before him. By the season’s end, he was drawing comparisons to NFL greats Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders and Marshall Faulk. Only a junior, Bush said he will decide after the Rose Bowl whether to declare for the NFL draft or return for his senior year, as Leinart unexpectedly did last season. “Matt, your decision to come back has changed my life,” Bush said in accepting the Heisman at the Nokia Theater in New York. Most expect Bush to enter the NFL draft and go as the No. 1 overall pick, which Leinart probably would have been last year if he’d come out early. Now he’s probably at least No. 2 behind Bush. Leinart watched Carson Palmer start USC’s current Heisman domination when he won the award in 2003. This is only the third time in the 71 years of the Heisman that teammates captured the award in consecutive seasons. Bush captured the public’s imagination this season – not just by what he did, but the way he did it. He had style, was sensational, seemed to defy simple laws of gravity. He was electrifying, fun to watch. A talent difficult to take your eyes from, almost difficult to believe. The award had gone to quarterbacks the past five years, and would have this year if the explosive Bush hadn’t blown by everyone in his final two games. After his name was announced as this year’s winner, he turned and hugged his stepfather, mother and brother. At the podium, he battled tears thanking his stepfather. He thanked his offensive line, Leinart and head coach Pete Carroll and his assistants. He called USC “my second family,” and then held his Heisman Trophy high overhead. It was a celebration, a declaration and a warning. Make room at Heritage Hall; more is coming. Steve Dilbeck’s column appears in the Daily News four times a week. He can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more