Lane Kiffin on Reggie Bush: “He Was The Best Player … That Hasn’t Changed”

September 16, 2010 – 7:50 am by Eric Schmoldt

Lane Kiffin was at USC for the Reggie Bush era. He remembers Bush as the best player in college football in 2005 and says, despite the fact that USC and Bush have now each returned their Heisman Trophy, nothing will change that fact.

He may be right, except for the fact that Bush is now not considered an eligible college football player, so how could he be the best of that bunch?

It certainly poses an interesting question, but my guess is Kiffin probably won’t respond to that as he’s busy trying to turn around “the most miserable 2-0 locker room” in the country. No worries, Lane, your offense did have the best player aged 19-23 in the country (that’s the easiest way around ”best college football player”) in 2005 and you have Minnesota, which lost to South Dakota last week, this Saturday.

Lane Kiffin joined KLAC-AM with Petros and Money to discuss the effect that the Reggie Bush saga has had on his program, whether coaches and players from 2005 feel slighted by it, how he was surprised this past week in his team’s struggles, why his team has the most miserable 2-0 locker room, his memories of Minnesota and what it’s like to move around so much as the son of a coach.

On what effect the Reggie Bush saga has on the USC program:

“I think it would surprise people. when I say that our players don’t talk about that or think about that. It’s not even on their mind. I only brought it up to them after practice just because the media was going to ask them and most of them didn’t even know about it. … It’s got nothing to do with this team. None of them were even here when it happened.”

On whether the coaches and players who were there when Bush won the Heisman feel slighted:

“No they shouldn’t. This isn’t an issue of performance-enhancing drugs or something to enhance Reggie’s performance where he was cheating and that enabled him to play better. He was the best player and if I recall the voting wasn’t even close. He was the best player by far, that year, in college football. That hasn’t changed. He was and we were the best team until six minutes left in [the national championship] game.”

On whether he was surprised by how competitive Virginia was in a loss to USC last week:

“I wasn’t surprised at how they were, I was surprised at how poorly we played. I thought we’d play much better. The home-opener, there was a lot of anticipation for the game, the players were excited and we just didn’t execute very well.”

On what he attributes the early struggles to:

“I think there’s a lot of things as you look at that. We do, and I more than anybody, tend to forget it’s our first year here. It’s our first year together as a team, as a staff and you go through some growing pains. Things aren’t gonna be perfect right away, even though our expectation is for them to be.”

On his ties to the state of Minnesota ahead of the Trojans’ game against the Gophers:

“I still do have a number of people there that I’m very close to over the years of being there. I lived there twice, actually. It’s a very special place, phenomenal people, great town. It’s a neat place and a lot of neat relationships there, but we’ve got to go back and get a win.”

On moving around so much:

“My goal has always been to move around early because you have to a lot of times in this profession to make relationships and get different experiences, but get to your dream job and stay there a long time. So, we’ve got here, now we’ve got to win so we can stay here a long time so my kids don’t have to go through the same thing. I moved 19 times, so I’m trying to keep them here for a while.”

Listen to the interview with Lane Kiffin on KLAC-AM with Petros and Money here

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