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Bing Is One of Four Captains

Times Staff Writer

USC safety Darnell Bing quietly goes about his business as a third-year starter for the Trojans.

“During practice and games, I don’t really talk much,” he said. “I pretty much do it on the field.”

Bing, however, acknowledged that he would probably become more vocal after teammates voted him one of four captains Friday.

“You do have to step up and communicate a lot more,” he said.

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Senior quarterback Matt Leinart, junior running back Reggie Bush and senior linebacker Dallas Sartz also were voted captains for a team that begins its quest for a third consecutive national title Sept. 3 at Hawaii.

“It’s an important position if they take the responsibility and work with it,” Coach Pete Carroll said.

Leinart also was a captain last season when he won the Heisman Trophy. He is only the third two-time captain at USC in 102 years. Troy Polamalu, a captain in 2001 and 2002, and Chad Morton, a captain in 1998 and 1999, are the others.

“What’s real cool is that the team votes for it,” Leinart said through a school spokesman. “This means a lot more coming from the players. The fact that it’s the second year in a row is an even greater honor and privilege.”

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Bush, a Heisman finalist last season, said he was honored to be voted a captain for the first time.

“I feel like it’s a role,” he said. “Whether I was chosen team captain or not, I still would have been a leader on this team.”

Sartz, a two-year starter, also said he welcomed the responsibility. “It was my goal when I first got here to one day become a captain,” he said.

Sartz, who has been slowed because of a hip pointer, participated in most drills but still refrained from contact. He said he hoped to participate in Sunday’s scrimmage at the Coliseum.

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“It’s killing me to be out this long, but it’s starting to feel better,” he said.

Freshman Brian Cushing has taken the majority of snaps in Sartz’s place and Carroll is eager for the senior to return.

“He’s got to fight his way back out here to make sure he established his spot,” Carroll said.

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USC, which finished atop the Associated Press media poll the last two seasons, is expected to be ranked No. 1 when AP releases its preseason poll today.

“It doesn’t amount to much until we do something about it and prove that we’re worthy of that,” Carroll said. “It’s a long ways before that ever happens.”

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USC players were introduced and members of the Trojans’ 1955 and 1980 teams were honored during the annual “Salute to Troy” program after practice.

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