With pass-happy Hawaii coming to the Coliseum on Saturday, USC breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when safety Darnell Bing practiced for the first time this week.
Bing suffered a high ankle sprain in the opener against Auburn and aggravated the injury against Brigham Young. He was outfitted Wednesday with a brace that allowed him to take part in all drills Thursday.
“There was a little bit of pain, but compared to what it was earlier this week, it’s gotten a lot better,” Bing said.
Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Bing probably would not play against Hawaii if he did not practice, because of the complexity of the Warriors’ run-and-shoot offense.
“There are a lot of unusual things he had to be tested on,” Carroll said. “Without [practicing] I wouldn’t have wanted to trust his preparation.”
Bing said he will test his fitness before the game Saturday and would not hesitate to come out if the pain increases. Sophomore Mike Ross would start in Bing’s place if he were unable to play. Carroll said sophomore Dallas Sartz could play safety and linebacker against Hawaii.
Sophomore receiver Justin Wyatt and freshman running back Reggie Bush will return kickoffs against Hawaii, Carroll said.
Wyatt and receiver Greig Carlson will return punts.
Wyatt was switched from cornerback to receiver last spring. He is fourth on the team with three receptions for 20 yards.
“He’s gaining confidence,” Carroll said. “He is looking much more full-speed and in control of his game. This is a good time for him to get out there in the [kicking] game.”
Flanker Keary Colbert, who caught 71 passes last season, has only five receptions through two games.
“I’m not worried,” said Colbert, a team captain. “As long as we’re winning, that’s the important thing.”
Carroll said the Trojans would not force the issue to get the ball into Colbert’s hands.
"[There’s been] a lot of calls in Keary’s direction that we haven’t, for one reason or another, gotten the ball to him,” Carroll said. “We’ll be better when Keary is getting six or eight catches in a game.”
Carroll said senior tight end Alex Holmes, who started last season, would redshirt.
The declaration was not unexpected. Holmes has neither practiced nor played this season because of a back injury suffered in the Orange Bowl against Iowa.
“He won’t make it back,” Carroll said. “A lot of stuff would have to happen in the next week or two and we just don’t foresee that.”
Senior left tackle Jacob Rogers, who has a strained left foot and sprained right ankle, took part in limited drills and will play Saturday.