Though the USC offensive line had its best performance of the season against Washington, several players spent this week battling for starting spots.
Faaesea Mailo practiced well enough to remain at left guard, Coach Pete Carroll said. But no announcement was made about center, where Norm Katnik was a surprise starter last week. Lenny Vandermade, a former freshman All-American, was competing to get that position back.
"I knew I couldn't make any mistakes this week," Vandermade said.
No matter who starts, Carroll said he planned to use both players in the game. He liked the fact his linemen were feeling pressured.
"The guys are really tuned in," he said. "They know they have got to do real well to get on the field."
Tailback Sultan McCullough returned to practice Thursday after resting the previous day to recover from lingering soreness. McCullough, who rushed for 132 yards last week, said he felt fine.
Meanwhile, Sunny Byrd could get his first carry of the season on Saturday, but not necessarily at his listed position. With the Trojans looking for a one-two punch, the 220-pound fullback might play some tailback.
Offensive lineman Joe McGuire has not played since the Kansas State game but will be in uniform and available on Saturday. ... Linebacker Chris Prosser practiced lightly Thursday and was to be examined to determine if he has recovered from a concussion. His status was uncertain. ... Kareem Kelly sat out practice because he has flu, which also struck cornerback Kris Richard earlier this week. Both are expected to play Saturday.