How I Prepare is a season-long series about what specific Detroit Lions players do each week to get ready for Sundays.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Reggie Bush hasn’t changed much since his days at USC. Yes, the games are on Sundays instead of Saturdays now, but the player once considered the most electrifying player in college football has stuck with the same routine since.
It worked in college, so why not carry over his preparation regimen to the NFL, which he's done for the past nine seasons in New Orleans, Miami and now Detroit.
Mondays start in the afternoons with therapy consisting of time in the ice tub, hot tub and working with the trainers to try and keep the running back’s body functional. Bush will start watching tape on Mondays as well, digging in on the game the day before and also starting to watch the next opponent, which this week would be Buffalo.
Tuesday is when he really dives into opponent film. He’ll watch between two-and-four games of the opponent, typically at home on his iPad. He’ll also stop at the facility to have some more therapy on whatever might be ailing him with the same ice tub and hot tub regimen. Between Monday and Tuesday, he’ll also see his chiropractor and masseuse. And if he needs to, a physical therapist on his own. The day typically depends on his commitments along with those of his wife, Lilit, and his daughter.
When he is watching film on Tuesdays (he says he watches intermittently throughout the day until he is tired or his daughter snags the iPad), he splits it 50-50 between watching individual players and schemes that his next opponent will run.
“I’m studying the different blitzes. Studying the way the linebackers blitz, the way they cover,” Bush said. “I’m looking at the run, how successful the run game is or isn’t against that defense. Just looking for any and everything really. I don’t really have any limitations on what I’m looking for.
“Specific linebackers, specific safeties and how the safeties tackle. Certain runs, yeah, I look at everybody.”
When he is watching specific linebackers and safeties, he is studying their blitz tendencies -- both for recognition on dump-off passes and for blitz pickup -- as well as tackling tendencies. He’s also watching how they run, and the angles they take to balls.
Studying is an important aspect for Bush, who has the speed and agility to use what he sees during the week to make one cut off on something he might have picked up on film and to go with it. All of these things help when he is on the field so his instincts can almost become more reformed observations in a flash. For Bush, he said what happens in a game is split between what he sees during the week and what his body just naturally does.
“I don’t know for other people, but for me, it’s 50-50,” Bush said. “It’s instincts and mentally preparing myself. I think this game is a lot more mental than it is physical. Everybody is big and strong and fast.
“But I think the guy who is able to separate himself on the mental side of the game is the one who usually comes out on top so I try to study as much as possible and use that to the best of my abilities.”
Every day is somewhat similar for Bush. As with every player, Wednesdays and Thursdays are longer days because they are actual work days at the Lions’ facility with meetings and practice. In addition, Bush keeps up his healing and film-watching plans every day throughout the week.
He watches opponent tape every day except for Sunday.
“I wake up and just get a good breakfast, get ready for the game,” Bush said. “Hopefully it’s a 1 o’clock game so I don’t have to wait too long.
“But everything is all in place by Sunday. Sunday you just wake up and go play the game.”