Dispatch from Howard Jones

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Thoughts from Tuesday's practice, through the eyes of USCRipsIt...

- On a cool springtime afternoon, the Trojans kicked off Spring Practice 2010 with a spirited no-pads workout, impressing the coaches with their zest in the team's first football action since the Emerald Bowl more than three months ago. "I thought the energy was great out here today," Coach Lane Kiffin said in the post-practice team huddle. "Ask yourself, did you give championship effort out here today? Let's do this one day at a time."

- Kiffin said he was pleased with the performance of quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Mitch Mustain in the opening practice of the spring. "I thought Matt threw the ball really well," Kiffin said. "And I though Mitch did some things well too."

- Barkley connected with wideout Ronald Johnson on a pair of picturesque deep balls -- one in 7-on-7 drills and the other in team period -- that wowed teammates and coaches.

- Tailback Curtis McNeal shined in the receiving game Tuesday, recording a nifty catch-and-run before snagging a deep ball on a route out of the backfield.

- During team period, wideouts Brice Butler and Kyle Prater turned short receptions into long gains thanks to shifty moves through the defense.

- Because the players weren't in pads, the running game was hampered, but tailback Allen Bradford had an impressive run when he cut off tackle for a nice gain.

- Tight end Rhett Ellison has come down with mononucleosis and could miss all of Spring Practice, Kiffin said. The tight end position is awfully thin, with Blake Ayles out with a sprained ankle and the incoming freshmen yet to enroll. David Ausberry and Jordan Cameron, both former wideouts, took all of the tight end reps on Tuesday.

- Long snapper Cooper Stephenson, who played on the team for four seasons, has quit, Kiffin announced.

- Alumni Jeff Byers, Joe McKnight and Nick Howell attended the workout.

- The Trojans' next practice on Thursday at 4 p.m. Kiffin said the players will be in full pads.

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Taylor Mays also made appearance.

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