best counter

Your Ad Here
Just The Sports: Revisiting Reggie Bush

Just The Sports

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Revisiting Reggie Bush

After a widely acknowledged stellar college football career at the University of Southern California, Reggie Bush has largely struggled in the NFL as a running back for the New Orleans Saints. His struggles prompted me to take a look back at his college football statistics to see if there were hints that he would under-perform on the professional level. As with my look at the three first-round running backs chosen in the NFL draft, I used success rate to truly gauge how valuable his runs were.

Reggie Bush's three seasons each took on an identity of their own. In his freshman season, for the seventy-nine runs I had play-by-play data on, he had a success rate of 53.1%, averaged 6.4 extra yards per successful run, and came up short by an average of 4.6 yards per unsuccessful run; unfortunately, I could not find the play-by-play data for his 2003 game against Arizona where he rushed for 69 yards on 11 carries with a long run of 20 yards. His first year in college, he was a pretty consistent runner, but did not explode for too many long runs.

His sophomore season was almost the exact opposite. Bush had a success rate of 49.7%, averaged 8.2 extra yards per successful run, and came up short by an average of 5.1 yards per unsuccessful run on 143. While he was more explosive as a runner, he was a lot less consistent.

It should also be noted that in both seasons, when Bush did come up short in his unsuccessful runs, he came up short by a pretty sizable margin, indicating that Bush was not above being bottled up on a regular basis.

Then came Bush's junior year, which was one of the greatest seasons a college football running back will ever experience, no matter the player's eligibility. That season, Bush had a 60.5% success rate, averaged an extra 9.4 yards per successful run, and came up short by only 3.8 yards per unsuccessful run on 200 runs. To combine that level of consistency as a running back with the multiple long runs he had is simply amazing and should be celebrated as the gold standard for a running back season.

For his complete college career, Bush posted a success rate of 55.6%, 8.2 extra yards per successful run, and 4.5 needed yards per unsuccessful run on 422 runs. This would seem like the running back resume of a player who will be a productive runner in the NFL. Yet, this has not been the case for Bush.

Instead, Reggie Bush has been a major disappointment in the NFL. For all the talent and skill he possesses, he is not even the best running back on his team. The Saints have realized that and have limited his offensive load over the past two seasons.

There are a couple of reasons why a very good college running back like Bush has failed to live up to expectations. The first reason is obvious and it could be that running backs' college numbers may not translate to the NFL like a quarterback's. Of course, that remains to be seen as I gather more data on college running backs.

The second is that his junior season was such a great season and represented such a jump over his first two college football seasons, he will never be able to reach those heights again. He might display that type of ability every now and then, but expecting him to translate such a season directly to the NFL might have been asking too much.

His more ordinary freshman and sophomore seasons seem like the truer Reggie Bush because the difference between them is less significant. In those seasons, he had a success rate of 50.9%, averaged 7.0 yards extra per successful run, and came up short by 4.9 yards per unsuccessful runs. Those are decent statistics, but are not going to blow anyone away on a consistent basis, sort of like Reggie Bush in the NFL.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home