Reggie Bush, one among Fox’s faculty soccer studio analysts, talks nationwide champs, Heisman hopefuls and the quick want for an expanded Faculty Soccer Playoff with The Publish’s Steve Serby.
Q: How good is that this Alabama workforce?
A: Effectively we’re gonna discover out (giggle), ’trigger they misplaced a variety of gamers … it’s laborious to say whether or not they’re gonna be nationwide championship contenders, or they’re simply gonna make it to the playoffs. We don’t know that proper now as a result of we haven’t seen Bryce Younger. We haven’t seen Invoice O’Brien as an offensive coordinator for Alabama. I do know their protection is gonna be actually good, I do know they’re gonna be actually good. … Nationwide championship-or-bust for Alabama, that’s actually what we’re speaking about yearly.
Q: Which groups do you see as the largest threats to Alabama?
A: I believe it’s Georgia, Oklahoma, Clemson, Ohio State, I believe these groups, that are at all times gonna be the identical groups within the working for the 4 playoff spots till we get enlargement. All these groups have one widespread denominator, and that’s nice quarterback play. When you’ve gotten nice quarterback play, you’re already forward of the sport; you’re already forward of the curve. All these groups I’m speaking about even have a tradition there that breeds success.
JT Daniels is gonna be particular. … They at all times have a secure of working backs on Georgia, it’s simply what they do. And the opposite factor I really like about Georgia is their protection. The Georgia protection is nasty, they’re bodily, they arrive to take your head off, they blitz quite a bit, they stroll round in pre-snap learn and provide you with unique appears to be like … that’s a problem for lots of offenses. If in case you have a quarterback who doesn’t have nice imaginative and prescient, is just not capable of see the place all these blitzes are coming from, he can get his head knocked off.
You requested me earlier about who the largest risk to Alabama was, now that I give it some thought, I believe it’s Georgia.
We now have recognized for the final couple of years that protection has not been a premium within the Massive 12, proper? Oklahoma’s protection performed SO a lot better final 12 months, and if their protection can proceed to raise, then I do imagine they may have a shot on the nationwide title.
Clemson, you recognize they’re gonna have an excellent protection ’trigger their ‘D’ coordinator [Brent Venables] is absolutely good. Let me say this although: That first sport of the season, Georgia versus Clemson, is gonna inform us quite a bit. If it’s a fantastic sport, it’s a nail-biter, it comes right down to the wire, we’re in all probability gonna see these similar two groups once more on the finish of the season within the playoffs. If one among these groups is blown off the map, that’s gonna inform us quite a bit as properly.
Q: Your ideas on Spencer Rattler.
A: I believe each NFL workforce is licking their fingers, can’t wait to get their palms on Spencer Rattler as a result of I believe he’s that particular. Once you watch him throw the soccer, he didn’t play like a freshman final 12 months, he performed like a junior or senior final 12 months. … Now you’ve gotten Spencer Rattler coming to his second 12 months with (Oklahoma head coach) Lincoln Riley, second 12 months within the system, I believe he’s gonna compete for the Heisman Trophy. I believe he’s gonna have the workforce competing for the nationwide championship, not simply the playoff spot.
Q: How about Sam Howell?
A: A beast. I believe it’s gonna come right down to Sam Howell in opposition to Spencer Rattler, I believe these are gonna be the 2 guys within the working for the Heisman Trophy this 12 months. You recognize they’re gonna throw the soccer far and wide. Mack Brown’s accomplished a fantastic job with North Carolina simply reviving the soccer program since he’s been there, and simply getting prime expertise to come back to North Carolina. When you’ve gotten a quarterback like Sam Howell taking part in the best way that he’s with the extent of success that he’s taking part in at, now different youngsters see that, now different youngsters are like, ‘Effectively, I don’t must go to Alabama, Clemson …’ I like them to compete for the ACC championship, however on the finish of the day I believe it’s Clemson. However I’d not be stunned although, if North Carolina was capable of upset them as a result of they’ve been knocking on the door these previous couple of occasions they performed Clemson. So as to have the ability to beat Clemson, you want nice quarterback play, and you’ve got that with Sam Howell. You have got a man who can go on the market and put up three-, four-hundred yards a sport throwing the soccer if you happen to let him.
Q: Bryce Younger?
A: All we’ve got to go off of is what he did in highschool. Once you get to school soccer, it’s a very totally different ballgame. Nick Saban runs a pro-style tradition there. That’s the rationale why he can lose a Mac Jones and exchange him with one other five-star quarterback, proper? He even replaces coaches as simply as he replaces five-star gamers. He misplaced [Steve] Sarkasian, he went out and acquired Invoice O’Brien. I believe Bryce Younger is gonna be good. It’s only a matter of how good does he wish to be?
Q: DJ Uiagalelei?
A: I believe he’s gonna deliver a distinct factor to Clemson. He’s larger than Trevor Lawrence, so he’s bringing a distinct factor to the read-option sport. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, that was a really particular connection I actually favored watching develop during the last years, what that they had simply within the read-option sport. So I believe DJ Uiagalelei’s gonna have the identical as properly. It is dependent upon the type of weapons that he has round him, I do know (broad receiver) Justyn Ross is coming again, it’s gonna be large for him. That’s the rationale I like DJ Uiagalelei ’trigger he’s sporting the perfect quantity, you recognize what I’m saying? Quantity 5, it don’t get a lot better than that.
Q: One other workforce you’re excessive on?
A: Iowa State is the one workforce that may smash it for everyone. In case you watch ’em on movie they play laborious, they play to the tip of the whistle. They put on you down with nice calls and a fantastic working again (Breece Corridor) who I even have in my preseason Heisman favorites together with Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell. They’ve good tight-end play with Charlie Kolar, they usually even have the Massive 12 Defensive Participant of the 12 months Mike Rose, and Breece Corridor was the Massive 12 Offensive Participant of the 12 months. They’ve 11 starters returning on offense, and I believe they’ve 10 starters returning on protection. I imagine their protection was No. 1 in opposition to the run final 12 months within the Massive 12, so that they have all of the intangibles, they’ve all of the issues that they want to have the ability to compete with Oklahoma. I believe on the finish of the season after they play Oklahoma, I believe that sport is gonna decide quite a bit for that fourth playoff spot. Oklahoma-Iowa State is a sport you must positively have circled in your calendar.
Q: Your USC Trojans and the Pac-12?
A: The Pac-12 has positively been down. On the finish of the day, groups like USC, Oregon kinda pull the convention alongside and carry the convention, so to talk, however I actually suppose that USC has a very good shot to win the Pac-12 this 12 months — nice quarterback play, you recognize they’re gonna throw the ball far and wide with that Air Raid offense, (offensive coordinator) Graham Harrell. Their recruiting has improved, I imagine they acquired the No. 1 recruit within the nation (DE Korey Foreman). Is Clay Helton gonna be capable of assist the workforce lastly get to the following degree and begin making some noise, or are they going to kinda regress? I don’t suppose they’re gonna keep the identical, I believe they’re both gonna be quite a bit higher, or they’re gonna go backwards. They gotta shield the soccer. That was one of many issues that damage them final 12 months was turnovers, and likewise, getting extra to a balanced assault. You gotta be capable of handle the clock.
I don’t suppose there’s one workforce that’s simply head and shoulders over anyone. I believe Oregon’s actually good, however I assumed Oregon was actually good final 12 months, after which they acquired smacked by Iowa State within the Bowl sport.
Q: Notre Dame?
A: They normally pump out eight, 9 wins a 12 months, after which they fall brief. However I don’t essentially blame Notre Dame for that. It’s the faculty system that’s holding again these alternatives for universities to proceed to go to the playoffs and get to the nationwide title. With the four-team playoff system, it’ll by no means occur. I really feel like we’ve missed out on so many nice tales due to it.
Q: Ideas on a 12-game playoff?
A: I believe that should occur now. I’ve at all times hated the best way that the Faculty Soccer Playoff system has occurred, with 4 groups. It’s actually dumb to solely have 4 groups compete for a nationwide title. You bought all these schools who yearly have this mistaken narrative like they actually have a shot to make it, they usually don’t. It’s a disservice to the children. It’s a disservice to the game to solely enable 4 groups to compete for a nationwide title. Once you do this, you retain the highest gamers, five-star recruits, going to the identical universities. As a result of now, the highest expertise solely seems like, “Effectively, if I wish to compete for a playoff, or wish to play for a nationwide title, my choices are restricted. I can solely go to a few or 4 faculties. If I wish to keep dwelling, and keep near mother and pop and my household, and nonetheless make a reputation for myself, properly, most certainly not gonna have that chance as a result of no different workforce has an opportunity to make it to the Playoff for a nationwide title.” So sure, enlargement ought to have occurred a very long time in the past.
Q: LSU, Michigan, Penn State: which one will rebound?
A: I believe LSU’s the workforce that offers me essentially the most hope. I do know the top coach (Ed Orgeron), I do know him properly, I do know his DNA, I do know what he’s manufactured from, I do know the type of groups that he runs, I do know the type of gamers that he brings in, I do know the type of expertise he develops as properly. They’re within the SEC, they’re within the strongest convention, so I believe they’re gonna be quite a bit higher this 12 months. However not each workforce can bounce again like Alabama. Alabama makes it look simple. I promise you it’s not that simple.
Q: Texas A&M?
A: I believe Texas A&M is across the center of the pack within the SEC, and like all people else, they’re chasing Alabama. The rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M is what I’m most excited to see again in faculty soccer. Isaiah Spiller, I really like watching him play, the checklist goes on and on. I believe they’re middle-of-the-pack with regards to the SEC, and that simply tells you ways nice the SEC is.
Q: Ideas on realignment?
A: There was no construction that has come out about what the realignment is gonna be, the way it’s gonna look. Really the Pac-12 got here out and mentioned that they’re not gonna develop. So to me proper now the realignment is simply an announcement of the Massive 12, ACC and Pac-12 saying that they’re gonna work collectively. However what does that imply? Are all these conferences simply gonna now merge into one? — which I don’t suppose is gonna occur. Does it profit the Pac-12 in a approach that individuals at the moment are going to observe the Pac-12 extra? As a result of the problem with the Pac-12 is on the East Coast, by the point video games begin it’s very late, proper? It’s actually gonna get extra eyeballs on the Pac-12. If it’s not doing any of that, then it’s simply lip service.
Q: Your 2005 Heisman Trophy that was vacated in 2010 by the NCAA (following an investigation into roughly $300,000 obtained in money and presents throughout Bush’s taking part in days).
A: The story continues. It’s not accomplished but. Keep tuned for far more.
Q: Do you suppose you’ll get it again?
A: Indubitably. Indubitably.