“That's the silver lining of it for me, the fact that they did great. They gave me some great games to watch. It was entertaining.”
Rush was all set to go out in style alongside pals Grant Garner and Levy Adcock and Nick Martinez, the other seniors on the offensive line.
Instead, he's back for more, offering a rugged and physical presence to the interior.
“Now I'm enjoying being with these guys,” he said.
And they're glad to have him.
Beyond he and senior Lane Taylor, the right guard with 36 career starts, no other OSU lineman has started more than five games, although several have played. Bowie's departure complicated things, forcing a shift of junior right tackle Parker Graham to the left side, with sophomore Daniel Koenig replacing Graham. Center Evan Epstein is a senior, but a former transfer walk-on who has barely played.
So Rush's return, as Monken said, now looks like a blessing.
“He didn't get out of here as soon as he thought he would,” Taylor said. “But I'm glad he's back. He really helps the offensive line. He has a lot of experience and he'll be able to hold down the left guard spot and do well.
“You can't really have enough experience. But when you've played a lot, you've seen different looks, different defenses, different moves. You're more prepared.”
OSU offensive line coach Joe Wickline said he's expecting Rush's best season yet.
“That one more year makes all the difference,” Wickline said. “And with an extra year, you get even more of the picture. And I think he gets the big picture, not just from a player standpoint, but from where he stands in life and how this whole thing works.
“He didn't play a lot early on. I remind him of that. We had some good players here who allowed us to sit him for two or three years. So he still has that under his belt. And he's playing for that.”
Best season yet? Rush is all for it.
“That's what I'm practicing for,” he said. “I don't believe it yet, because it hasn't happened. But that's what I train for every day, to be the best I can be and do better than I did last year.
“I kind of feel like I'm cheating. I got an extra year, a sixth year in the game, time to hone my craft. I'd like to take advantage of it.”