Sam Farmer sets up the comparision rather well starting off his MJD interview:Maurice Jones-Drew didn't decide to wear No. 32 for sentimental reasons. It was more of a reminder of just how many NFL teams passed at least once on him before he was selected by Jacksonville in the second round of the 2006 draft.
Week by week, the former UCLA standout exacted his revenge. He scored 16 touchdowns, had two outstanding games against eventual champion Indianapolis, and outplayed college rival Reggie Bush for most of the season.
And while Farmer notes that Bush leads MJD in endorsement deals, I couldn't help but notice a contrast in what the two men had to say. On his former team and potential NCAA troubles, Bush said:Q: What would it mean for you to get your number retired at USC, and have you gotten any indication the school might do that?
A: I haven't. But it would mean a lot. I feel like me and Matt, we helped put that team back on the map. We feel like we've done a lot for that university. We made a lot of special moments for that university. So it would mean a lot.
Q: USC has 10 running backs on scholarship. Can you make any sense of that?
A: It's crazy. I was talking to T-Mac [running backs coach Todd McNair] -- we talk all the time -- and I was like, 'What are you going to do with all those running backs down there?' It's crazy, man. Because at the end of the day, somebody's not going to play. You've got 10 running backs and there's only one football. With me and LenDale it was hard enough to spread the ball around. So I don't know what they're going to do with 10. There's going to be some guys playing both ways.
Q: Mike Garrett said the NCAA advised the school to distance itself from you during the investigation, and that's why you didn't get a sideline pass for the Rose Bowl game. Do you feel like the school has turned its back on you?
A: No, I understand that. They're just doing what they're told. Mike Garrett and I have a great relationship. Coach Carroll and I will always have a great relationship. I love them, they love me. I love USC. There's no hard feelings. They're just doing what they're told, and you've got to abide by the rules sometimes. There's no love lost.
Q: You've said before that you wouldn't pick up the phone if NCAA investigators called. But can you envision any scenario in which you'd talk to them?
A: Honestly, the media, they love to take stuff out of context. That's what you guys do, you write stories and that's what you get paid for. So that was just me talking. There's nothing behind it and nothing to it. That's just it.
(Asked later to clarify his answer, Bush, through marketing agent Mike Ornstein, said he is not ruling out speaking to NCAA investigators, but only when his attorney advises him it's the right time to do so.)
A few things. Sounds to me that 'ole Reggie isn't so happy that USC hasn't retired his number yet.
Also, Bush talks about the glut of talent RB's at USC with his 'ole pal "T-Mac" (you know, the same T-Mac that Yahoo reported "allegedly knew of Bush's involvement with the New Era venture before last season's national championship game against Texas, according to two sources."). Good to see that they still talk all the time.
And then there's the quote about there not being any love-loss between Southern Cal and USC over the Rose Bowl brewhaha. As Bush says, Southern Cal has to "abide by the rules sometimes." You know, like, not always. When people are looking. Or, even if they are, when the NCAA doesn't technically have jurisdiction over you any more. Just say'n.
Finally, behold how badly Bush flubs the NCAA investigator call question. Wow. Good thing he has his marketing guys (and other hangers on) around to clear things up (to say that he'll answer questions when the attorneys say it's okay, which equals never).
On the other hand, let's see what MJD has to say:Q: You mentioned the hard work you put in during the off-season. What's your regimen?
A: I play with my dog a lot and I work out four to five hours a day, five days a week. Because I'm not that talented, I just try to work harder than everybody else, that's all.
Q: What, in particular, can you improve upon this season?
A: There's a lot of areas: route running, and I missed a lot of reads last year and left a lot of yards on the field. I almost rushed for 1,000, but there are a lot of things I can improve on.
Q: You seem to be having fun now. How are you approaching your second season?
A: My whole thing is I feel I have to make the team. I have to show them something. If you don't, you'll get released. Look at [former Jaguars safety] Donovin Darius. He got released during the off-season and he was a great player. He was a 10-year player, only played in Jacksonville, and they released him. So you've always got to show everybody something. If I make the team, then I go on from there. You can't take anything for granted. Because once you do that, that's when you get burned.
All business. MJD is just is focused and ready for another big year in the league.
No difference between these two guys at all.