Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke dealing with few bodies

Leader sportswriter

The Lonoke Jackrabbits kicked off their second week of fall practice in the afternoon Monday, and with the start of the new school year quickly approaching, head coach Doug Bost would like to get his team acclimated to the August heat.

“It was a little sluggish today,” said Bost on Monday, “but it was a little bit warm this afternoon. We were going in the morning for the majority of the time last week. We’re out here in the heat of the day, but that’s something they’ve got to get used to with school starting a week from today. This is the time we’ll be out here.”

Bost has about 40 kids on this year’s roster, and pointed out some of his seniors that have stepped up and led by example throughout fall practice sessions.

“Dylan Goforth and Chandler Elmore, that’s two of our seniors,” Bost said. “They’ve been three-year starters for us. They’re not just real vocal, but they lead by example. They always do everything right.

“They’re yes sir-, no sir-type kids, and they just work hard, and I think that rubs off on the other kids when they see how hard they work.”

The low numbers on this year’s Jackrabbit squad has been a challenge for Bost and his staff to put together a formidable scout team that can challenge his first-team offense and defense, something Bost says is crucial to his team’s success.

“You always like to have more, and it makes it tough when you want to put a quality scout team out there,” Bost said. “That’s what makes you good when you have a quality scout team that pushes you. That’s what we want, but we’re kind of low on some numbers.”
Bost said his team has worked thoroughly on all three aspects of the game – offense, defense and special teams, but he added that the kicking game will need some serious work before the first regular-season game next month.

“You know, three-hour practice, it’s been pretty even across the board working all three of those phases,” Bost said. “Of course, you know, offense and defense you do all summer long with camps and 7-on-7s; special teams, we just started working on those last week.
“That’s a very important part of the game and it gets some kids that maybe don’t start on offense or defense, but work hard, we try to get them on the field some. So we take a lot of pride in special teams, but where we’re hurting is kicking.

“We had Jose (Garcia) the last couple of years. He was good on kickoff and real good on field goals. We’re struggling in that department right now.”

Bost said starting tackle Jacob Vandiver and Trey Bevis, among others, are working at the position, but the competition for the starting spot there is still very much up for grabs.

As far as what Bost would like his team to get out of the second week of practice, he wants his players to be able to get adjusted to the heat and continue to improve its conditioning, as well as every other aspect of the game on offense, defense and special teams.

“Conditioning and getting adjusted to the heat,” Bost said of areas his team needs to improve upon. “Like I said, when you go in the afternoon like this, it’s how you’re going to do it when school starts. So we got to get adjusted. We go one more afternoon (Tuesday), then we’re back at 8 o’clock (a.m.) for the next three days.

“Just getting used to the heat, because I don’t think we’ve seen the best of the heat right now. We haven’t even had a 100-degree day. I think when school starts we’re going to have that.”