Reggie Bush Trying to Prove He Can Live Up to Hype, Star As Every-Down Back in MiamiFOXBORO, Mass. — Dolphins running back Reggie Bush believes he has shown an ability to be more than just a gimmicky back this season.

And while that may be true, Bush must prove he continue his surge into 2012 and beyond. He has already set career highs with 194 carries and 973 rushing yards, and he has matched his career mark with six rushing touchdowns. Plus, he is doing this while the Dolphins have struggled to find consistent play from their quarterbacks.

"I think I've shown that [I can be a feature back]," Bush said. "I think so. I think I try to do my best every time I touch the ball — running for four yards and not trying to break the big run every time I touch the ball. But more importantly giving our offense a chance at second-and-shorts, the third-and-shorts and not putting them in long-down situations."

While at USC, Bush was one of the most celebrated college athletes of this generation. His spectacular highlights led to a Heisman Trophy and national championship, though both have been stripped due to violations. Bush was also the second overall pick in the 2006 draft, which was wildly controversial because he was viewed at the time as a can't-miss player who deserved the No. 1 selection (as time went on, the Texans have proven they made the right pick with Mario Williams).

Yet, Bush never caught on as a feature back with the Saints. He was most effectively used as a third-down specialist who could split out as a wide receiver. There were some amazing highlights, for sure, but Bush couldn't do it consistently. Whether it was injuries or a system that just didn't suit his ability as a runner, it was clear that Bush wouldn't ever live up to his hype in New Orleans, which traded him to the Dolphins last offseason.

At the start of training camp, Bush was faced with the task fighting for carries with rookie Daniel Thomas, but the veteran eventually won out. It wasn't easy, though, as Bush showed little consistency through six games, amassing 60 carries for 232 yards and no touchdowns.

Things have picked up since then. He has topped 100 rushing yards four times this season, including three consecutive games, after doing it just once in his first five years in the league. He has also had at least 14 carries in the last six games — prior to that stretch, he only reached 14 rushes in consecutive games one other time in his career (three straight games in 2007).

Bush's most recent game was the best of his life, hitting career highs of 25 carries for 203 yards in a victory against the Bills. It was the fifth-most rushing yards for any player this season, and he became the 20th player to surpass 200 yards since he entered the league in 2006.

"He's a talented back," Dolphins interim head coach Todd Bowles said. "He's been making people miss a long time. He's competitive. He wanted to show this year he's an every-down back, and he has been."