The Bills Fight On!

Posted Oct 8, 2016

For a particular bunch of University of Southern California Trojans—near and dear to the Bills family—returning to their alma mater on Sunday, October 9, will be truly special.

Once a Trojan, always a Trojan.

That’s what they say. Who you ask? Well, University of Southern California (USC) Trojans, of course.

For USC alumni, there is no saying more true.

Often identifiable by clothing beaming with the school’s cardinal and gold colors, and by a hand symbol unique only to them, the Trojans are a proud group. They share an indescribable bond, that can’t be broken. Not by time or distance. They are each a member of a larger family—the Trojan family. And they are members for life.

For a particular bunch of Trojans—near and dear to the Bills family—returning to their alma mater on Sunday, October 9, will be truly special. Flooded with memories of their days playing and coaching football at USC’s home field, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, wide receiver Robert Woods, cornerbacks Nickell Robey-Coleman and Kevon Seymour, running back Reggie Bush, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and defensive backs coach Tim McDonald, will look to add more memories to their collection.

The Trojan Tradition

Together they represent decades of Trojan football tradition. From defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman who spent four years (1974-77) lining USC’s secondary and eight years as the defensive backs coach (1993-00), to the newest Trojan to join Buffalo’s ranks CB Kevon Seymour, these Bills epitomize the Trojan tradition and honor those who’ve played at the Coliseum before them.

Beyond excited to get back to their roots, the guys reflected on some of their favorite moments from their days at the Coliseum.

Dennis Thurman (1974-77, 1993-00)

“My best memory from playing at the Coliseum was probably my freshman year,” said Thurman. “UCLA game, (for the) right to go to the Rose Bowl and I actually got in the game and had two interceptions and one was a touchdown. So…my greatest memory was that.”

Tim McDonald (1983-86)

“It had to be the horse,” said McDonald. “The white Trojan horse. Just knowing he was riding around when we scored and made a big play. Most of the songs, they’re still playing ‘em. Our band director is still there. It’s home. I get goosebumps every time I walk into it.”

Reggie Bush (2003-05)

“I’ve had a lot of good memories there,” said Bush. “I would say, probably the Fresno State game. Having 500 yards total offense is pretty amazing. It was a great night. It was also a tough game on top of that. We barely squeaked away with a win, but everything about that game was very memorable for me.”

Robert Woods (2010-12)

“Probably the day that me and Matt (Barkley) broke our records,” said Woods. “That was one of the most memorable days. When I broke the USC career receptions (record). They did a shout out with Keyshawn (Johnson), Chris Paul, Blake Griffin—they stopped the game for it. It was pretty cool.”

RELATED: Robert Woods on USC graduation: "It's worth it"

Nickell Robey-Coleman (2010-12)

“I remember everything like a picture from my freshman year all the way until I left there so I still have everything in my head of how it looks,” said Robey-Coleman. “I’m excited to get back to the stadium and just see the locker room and I might see myself, I hope so.”

Kevon Seymour (2012-15)

“My sophomore year, when we beat Stanford,” said Seymour. “It was a great game. We played at home, it was a great win so that’s probably one of my best moments.”

RELATED: A much clearer outlook for CB Kevon Seymour

It’s Electric

Without a doubt, tradition is a big part of football at USC. But, there’s something extra special about the atmosphere in the Coliseum.

It’s been described in many ways.

Electric. Loud. Amazing. Special. To name a few.

There is no shortage of adjectives used when referencing the historic venue.

Dennis Thurman

It will be an electric atmosphere…I can anticipate that,” explained Thurman. "The stay will be short, you know it’s a business trip so I have to keep that in mind. But coming down that tunnel, and coming out of that darkness into the light is very unique feeling that a lot of people don’t get a chance to experience.”

Tim McDonald

“There’s something special about USC,” said McDonald. “You just feel like you’re a part of something. It’s just really special.”

Reggie Bush

“When I was there in college it was electric, the crowd was extremely loud and electrifying,” said Bills RB Reggie Bush. “It was a great atmosphere to be in, to play in, especially for college football. We really fed off the energy of the crowd every game that we played in there. “

Robert Woods

 “When you’re walking out of the tunnel there is a curve so you can’t see anything and you just hear the crowd,” said WR Robert Woods. “You hear your cleats, and your teammates. It’s like the closer you get, the louder it gets and when you see it it’s like you’re right up on the field—it’s just loud. So when you approach the game and approach the field, it keeps building up…”

Nickell Robey-Coleman

“I’m excited to see the city, the Coliseum, just the environment,” said Robey-Coleman.

Kevon Seymour 

“The feeling of walking out of the tunnel,” said Seymour. “When halftime hits and they light that torch at night time. That’s the feeling.”

RELATED: Nickell Robey maximizing his business profile

Trojan Family

So what does it really mean to be a member of the Trojan family? Only Trojans can explain it.

Dennis Thurman

Growing up in Santa Monica, CA., Thurman’s LA connection runs deep. With his mother and other family members still living there, Thurman is expecting a crowd of about 60 to join him and the rest of the Trojan family.

Tim McDonald

 “When I was playing in the League, 13 years in the NFL, and it was regular for a Trojan to see another Trojan and speak,” said McDonald. “No matter what side you were on, whether it was before the game or after the game. It’s just that family atmosphere... I’ve seen people, I’ve got a Trojan t-shirt on walking down the street, and someone might not even be a Trojan but they’ll say "Fight On!" to me. It’s just that special feeling you know you’re a Trojan for life when you go there. We always say you’re a Trojan for life.”

In addition to his fellow Trojans, McDonald has a daughter still attending USC, and a son (T.J.) that also played football there (and is now on the Rams). McDonald has the ultimate Trojan family.

Reggie Bush

“This will be the first time for my wife and kids (watching me play at the Coliseum),” said Bush. “My son won’t go because he’s too young, he’s only one, but my daughter will go with my wife. But it will be the first time that they’ve seen me inside the stadium.”

Robert Woods

“It is like a giant family just because when we’re growing up we’re watching the players and once we go there, they still interact with the Trojans once they leave,” said Woods. “So even playing now, in NFL games, each week you check the roster, check to see how many Trojans are on the team and you go say what’s up and talk to them. Even like the younger players, older players that you never played with, you still go up and talk to them. My second year, when we played the Lions, I met Reggie Bush and he came to me and had words like welcome to the League and what Trojans are supposed to do in the League.”

Nickell Robey-Coleman

“…it’s a bond that pretty much no one else can really get in between,” said Robey-Coleman. “Even though I’m not from LA, LA adopted me,” said Robey-Coleman. “Florida raised me, but LA pretty much made me into the man I am today. Holding me accountable, waking up every morning, it shaped me as a human being and as a football player.”

Kevon Seymour

“First of all, being a Trojan is second to none," said Seymour. “When you see one of your family members, brothers on the field, it’s just a great feeling. It’s the feeling of accomplishment so just playing with Trojans, playing with my brothers Nickell Robey-Coleman and Robert Woods, is the best feeling in the world.”

Although they will make their return to the Coliseum, as visitors, wearing different uniforms, it’s safe to say that they will take with them the traditions and pride that they established while at USC.

Striving to get their third consecutive win, the Bills will Fight On.