Freshman C.J. Gable started USC's last three games at tailback and is making a push to keep the designation for the Rose Bowl against Michigan.
Gable, from Sylmar, ran for a career-best 107 yards against Notre Dame but was limited to 52 yards in 19 carries in the regular-season finale against UCLA.
"I already forgot about the game," Gable said Wednesday. "I don't really think about it anymore."
Junior Chauncey Washington appears to be challenging Gable for the starting role. Washington was slowed by hamstring and knee injuries throughout the season but still led the Trojans with 736 rushing yards.
Washington is no longer wearing a knee brace and appears to be near full speed for the first time this season.
Still, Gable has been the Trojans' most consistent performer since training camp.
"He brought a great competitive spirit that separated him from the other guys," Coach Pete Carroll said. "His tempo every day, his willingness to hit the line of scrimmage and work hard every day.... He's just been ahead from the beginning, and he's held on to that."
Gable, who also started the season opener at Arkansas, is not concerned about a challenge for the starting job. He said he would be prepared for whatever role he fills against the Wolverines.
"I'm getting a lot of reps just trying to get ready," he said. "I just keep on doing what I do every game."
On a day that featured intermittent rain mixed with sunshine and a cold wind, sophomore linebacker Brian Cushing sat out because of a knee injury suffered in last Friday's scrimmage.
Carroll and Cushing described the injury as a sprain.
"I think he could play if he had to right now, but there's still a lot of swelling," Carroll said.
Tailback Emmanuel Moody practiced but was slowed near the end after an unusual collision with assistant coach Dave Watson.
Watson had sprinted downfield toward Moody to congratulate him on a good play, but he slipped on the wet turf and slid into Moody's left leg. Moody said he suffered a knee bruise.
USC players attended a show at a comedy club after practice, and they will take part in the Lawry's Beef Bowl tonight.
For many players, this is the third time in four years that they have participated in the same Rose Bowl activities.
"You enjoy it as much as you can and try to make the best out of all situations," junior nose tackle Sedrick Ellis said. "I've done them a few times. At the same time this is the position we put ourselves in."