Titans' White Gets Reunion With Former USC Teammate Bush

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee's trip to New Orleans is being billed as the first NFL meeting between Vince Young and the Saints' Reggie Bush, their first game against each other since Young led Texas to the national championship over Bush's Southern California.

LenDale White? Overshadowed by Bush again.

But White, now playing in the same backfield as Young, is used to his former teammate capturing most of the attention.

"At Southern Cal, he always had the higher profile. It is what it is. I'm happy with the position I'm at. I play for the Tennessee Titans. I'm looking forward to a good year. I'm not really worried about who has the bigger profile," White said.

"I hope I have a better game, though."

Bush and Young attracted most of the attention in 2006. Bush was taken second overall and Young was picked third. Both found themselves playing quite a bit as rookies. Bush scored eight touchdowns to help the Saints reach the playoffs and Young won Offensive Rookie of the Year with eight wins.

By comparison, White nearly dropped out of sight, and out of mind.

Questions over his weight and health relegated him to the second round, where he was taken 45th overall by Tennessee. He played sparingly as a rookie as Travis Henry grabbed the starting job and had 61 carries for 244 yards and 14 catches for 60 more.

Now White goes into this game enjoying a better second season than Bush.

The running back who scored a school-record 52 touchdowns on the ground at Southern Cal scored his first NFL TD last week. He's the starter and has rushed 33 times for 130 yards with two catches for 7 yards compared to Bush's 22 carries for 65 yards and 10 receptions for 50 yards.

He is splitting carries now with veteran Chris Brown, a combination with Young that has the Titans averaging 211.5 yards through two games.

"They're just pounding the ball right now," Saints linebacker Scott Fujita said. "They're leading the NFL in running and it shows. They're playing physical, finding the gaps and gashing defenses. So it's going to be up to us to be sound in our gaps and making plays that way."

White had to watch when these teams met in an exhibition last year because he was punished for spitting on a teammate in the heat of training camp. He's ready to play Monday night and is looking forward to his mini-USC reunion.

"I've been talking to him back and forth, just having fun with it," White said. "But you know, I'm excited to get out there and play against him. The last time he came around, I had to sit out. It's going to be fun to get out there and play against him."

Bush got most of the attention in college where his 6,551 all-purpose yards and highlight-quality runs helped him win the 2005 Heisman Trophy. White didn't mind. He also isn't surprised by Bush's success as a commercial pitchman, but he said they remain close.

"We text each other before every game good luck and talk after every game to see how it went," White said.

The 0-2 start has Bush focusing on trying to help the Saints win. He isn't surprised that White is the Titans' starter.

"Definitely not surprised. He's a great player, I've played with him, and I know what he's capable of," Bush said Thursday.

Young has downplayed the attempt to create a rivalry between himself and Bush. The Titans quarterback knows exactly which running back he is pulling for Monday night -- the man who has played in Bush's shadow for so long now.

"Best of luck to both of them. I hope LenDale does more because he's on our team. We want to see him be very successful running the ball for us," Young said.

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