The Trojans' bye-week plans

LOS ANGELES -- There's always a delicate balance to bye weeks at the collegiate level.

College coaches want to give their players time off, but not too much time. They want their players to rest up, but not become rusty.

That's why USC's practice schedule is so irregular this week, in the Trojans ' only week off during the 2012 season. They practiced fairly normally on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings but will take Thursday off. On Friday afternoon they’ll return for another session for preliminary prep for the Utah Utes, then the team will take Saturday off.

The Trojans will begin their Utah game-week preparation in earnest on Sunday morning, followed by practices on Monday and Tuesday before taking off for Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

And on Oct. 4, a Thursday, USC face the Utes on Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT.

USC coach Lane Kiffin gave receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee and some other Trojans the day off Tuesday. He rotated more players out on Wednesday, and several players also have been working on a more limited basis during the squad’s conditioning-heavy sessions this week.

Two years ago, during Kiffin's first bye week at USC, he memorably ran his players harder than ever as the Trojans readied to face speedy Oregon.

That also was the week Kiffin first tried out morning practices at USC, which have since become the norm. Excluding fall camp, Friday's practice likely will be the only full session not to take place in the morning hours this season.