After rushing for 438 yards and three touchdowns in the last three games, Trojan fans were wondering what it would take for senior running back Allen Bradford to be named the starter.
They got their answer Thursday, as USC coach Lane Kiffin formally said Bradford would start at No. 16 Stanford on Saturday.
"He had a good week last week, had a real good week of practice," Kiffin said. "Hopefully he'll be a big part of the game. We're going to need to run the ball. We're going to need to run it a lot."
Junior Marc Tyler started four of the first five games this season, with fullback Stanley Havili getting the nod at Washington State.
Bradford is averaging 9.8 yards per carry, a better average than any player in the Pac-10 with at least 12 carries. Even Oregon running back LaMichael James, the second-leading rusher in college football, is averaging 1.8 yards fewer per carry.
Kiffin had yet to even tell Bradford, making the decision during practice Thursday.
"Just watching practice today and where we're at, it just became apparent today that was the right direction for us to go," Kiffin said.
Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron missed practice Thursday and has been hospitalized with an infection in his broken right foot.
"He's been in there since last night right after practice," Kiffin said. "Hopefully he'll be back for the game."
Orgeron broke the foot before the home opener against Virginia and underwent surgery to have it fixed.
Kiffin said he hoped to have Orgeron available Saturday, but had not yet decided how to divide up his duties if he is not available.
"They are still running some tests and still working on him. It seems like it's under control and they are hopeful he'll be back with us if not Saturday, tomorrow," Kiffin said.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
Bruce Feldman of ESPN the Magazine reported late Thursday that Orgeron was out of the hospital and that he said he would coach against Stanford.
Getting Their Kicks
After missing all six field goal attempts in practice Wednesday, kickers Joe Houston and Jacob Harfman fared far better Thursday, combining to make eight of 10 tries.
Houston was five of six, Harfman three of four but more telling was that none of the kicks were from a distance longer than 35 yards.
Kiffin joked about the situation, saying that, "Hopefully they'll let us not wear pads and kick the ball with the wind at our back and we'll be fine."
Special teams coach John Baxter added: "Somebody wearing No. 10 will run out there."
-DE Wes Horton (back) did not practice Thursday and looks to be out against Stanford. LB Chris Galippo continues to see reps at the ‘Elephant,' a hybrid DE/LB that could takes Horton's place on passing downs.
-Havili, WR Robert Woods, CB Shareece Wright, CB Brian Baucham, DE Nick Perry, C Kris O'Dowd, OL Butch Lewis and OL Khaled Holmes were limited in practice.
Woods said he was banged up on a kick return against Washington, but it did not affect his role in the offense. He did not catch a pass against the Huskies for the first time in his brief college career.