Flanagan four-star linebacker Devin Bush Jr. — who counts NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks as a mentor — has helped the “Dirty Birds” moniker his father and coach Devin Bush Sr. played under with the Atlanta Falcons’ 1998-99 Super Bowl team take flight again at Flanagan.
Bush Jr.’s physical style and ability to play multiple positions has set the tone for the Falcons (3-0, No. 3 in AP Class 8A poll), who have emerged as a state title threat in coach Bush’s second year.
“Being a ‘Dirty Bird’ is an attitude we take on the field,” said the 5-11, 210-pound Bush, who has offers from Florida, Miami, South Carolina and UCLA. “We feed off each other and take a lot of pride in it.
“It’s a bond. I can look to my left and my right and know my teammates are not going to let me down. “
Any doubts that lingered about the Falcons’ legitimacy as state contenders were erased with a 33-10 victory over Cypress Bay on Friday, their first ever on the Lightning’s home field.
The Falcons have drawn on coach Bush’s championship experience as a key member of Florida State’s 1993 national championship team and Super Bowl appearances with the Falcons in the 1998-99 season and the St. Louis Rams, who won the Super Bowl a year later.
Besides instilling an ornery disposition with the new-look Falcons coach Bush has demanded his player — such as promising offensive lineman Kevin Lambert — play several positions to get familiar with every assignment on the field.
Bush Jr., meanwhile, has also gotten invaluable insight from Brooks, his godfather, through regular phone conversations, breaking down game tape in person and one-on-one drills.
“It’s like a rare blessing to have a Hall of Famer to call up,” Bush Jr. said. “Derrick Brooks has done great things.
“It’s my job to interject what I have learned into the other guys. It’s my job to get them ready.”