Bush to announce decision on future after Rose Bowl

Updated: December 16, 2005, 7:10 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Reggie Bush practiced Friday for the first time since winning the Heisman Trophy and said he'll probably announce whether he'll return to Southern California for his senior season a few days after the Rose Bowl.

"Right now, my main focus is beating Texas," he said.

The 6-foot, 200-pound junior figures to be one of the top picks in April's NFL draft should he decide to pass up his final year of eligibility at USC. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare.

The top-ranked Trojans (12-0) extended their winning streak to 34 on Dec. 3 by beating crosstown rival UCLA 66-19, assuring them a berth in the Rose Bowl, where they'll shoot for an unprecedented third straight national championship against No. 2 Texas.

"We're making history right now," Bush said with a smile.

USC coach Pete Carroll said he'll address future options with several players next week.

"We're going to meet with the whole team first," he said. "Everybody has to know what's going on. We'll focus on guys who are under consideration. It's not time to make that decision."

The Trojans practiced last weekend, but Bush, fellow running back LenDale White and quarterback Matt Leinart were in New York for the Heisman ceremony. Bush and 2004 Heisman winner Leinart were finalists, while White, who shares the tailback position with Bush, was given permission to share the experience.

White is also a junior who is mulling his options. Despite playing the same position as Bush, he was a third-team All-American and holds the USC school record with 54 career touchdowns.

White rushed for 1,178 yards this season, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, while Bush gained 1,658 yards and averaged 8.9 yards per carry.

Carroll said he was pleased with Friday's practice.

"It feels like today is the first day toward the start of preparation," he said regarding the Rose Bowl, to be played Jan. 4 in nearby Pasadena. "We know how to do this. That's really reassuring and comforting."

USC beat Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl two years ago to split the national championship with LSU and won it outright last year, beating Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl.

"This is all we could hope for -- it's the Rose Bowl," Carroll said. "We get to play in the Rose Bowl in the national championship game."

Carroll addressed recent reports that he wanted to return to the NFL, where he was a head coach for the New York Jets for one season and the New England Patriots for three before coming to USC in 2001.

"I'm used to it," he said. "This has happened for five years. I'm flattered. I'm not doing anything with anybody. I'm not talking with anybody. I can't be more emphatic. I'm not doing it -- I love it here."

The Trojans are scheduled to practice again Saturday and then take two days off before working out Tuesday through Friday. The players will break for Christmas at that time, with practice resuming Dec. 28 following a four-day break.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press