Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SPORTS>>Quarterbacks dueling at Lonoke

Leader sportswriter

A shorter practice at Lonoke on Tuesday did not make for less activity.

In fact, it may have been one of the most productive days in the first two weeks of August camp for the Jackrabbits.

Head coach Doug Bost and the Lonoke staff held an abbreviated practice Tuesday morning before they were scheduled to take part in teachers’ meetings on the Harding University campus in Searcy.

Things concluded with a brief running drill just after 10 a.m., but the squad found plenty of time for two separate offensive drills and considerable special-teams work.

“This is the first day we’ve worked on special teams,” Bost said. “We went a good hour and 20 minutes, and went through every aspect of special teams. We know how important that is.

“We give kids a chance who maybe aren’t playing offense or defense, but have been working hard and showing us they want to play. We try to find a spot for them on special teams, so today was a good day to work on that.”

Lonoke’s trio of tailback candidates practiced handoff plays while the receivers caught passes from dueling quarterbacks Logan Dewhitt and Tarrell Watson.

“We’ve got a good quarterback battle going on,” Bost said. “We’re switching them in and out, so we’ll see how that plays out.

One does one thing good, and the other doessomething else good, and that’s why I’m giving them a fair share of reps here.

“It’s just even right now, I don’t know.”

One of the tallest orders for Bost has been to replace all-state tailback Brandon Smith. Juniors Keli Bryant and T.J. Scott, and sophomore Dre Offord have all spent time in that spot, and Bost said all three have excelled and that he has not ruled out the possibility of rotating all three.

There will not be a similar rotation at quarterback, however. Bost said one of the two would eventually earn the starting job before camp is over because he wants to give the starter time to get in synch with the receivers. But with the entire offensive scheme in place and 90 percent of the defense, the ’Rabbits are almost at the fine-tuning stage.

“We got the whole offense in after today,” Bost said. “We’ve got three weeks before we play, now it’s just keep running, doing the reps over and over and get everybody used to it.”

T.J. Scott, along with his duties at running back, will serve as place kicker for the Jackrabbits.

He was solid in short distance field-goal drills Tuesday, hitting 7 of 8 attempts from both hash marks and the middle of the field.

“The thing we’re really working hard with him this year is if we can get him to kick it in the end zone,” Bost said. “That’s a 60-yard kick, that’s tough, but he’s got plenty of power. He’s really practiced his field goals; we feel good about that.”

Lonoke almost got through the first week of practice injury free, but senior receiver Scott Smith broke his collarbone making an athletic catch in the final 10 minutes of Friday’s practice.

“It was a beautiful catch, but he broke his collarbone,” Bost said. “He’s going to be out five weeks, so we’re expecting him to be ready to play the third game against McGehee. I know it’s disappointing to him, but he knows it’s five weeks and he’s back in the game, so he’ll be alright.”