The Lonoke Jackrabbits football team, coming off a 6-5 campaign, finished spring practice two weeks ago with 50 players.
"We moved up a big sophomore class," said Lonoke coach Doug Bost, who is entering his fifth year at the helm. "It’s holding about 30 kids right now."
Bost said he is excited about his team coming out of spring practice.
"We’re going to be a smash-mouth power run football team with the ability to throw it sideline to sideline with some guys we have out there," he said. "Defensively, we’ll be a multiple front. We can jump into a 3, 4 or 5 front.
"It was a good spring. We kinda got everything installed. Now, you’ve got the summer to keep going back and refreshing."
The Jackrabbits are participating in five team camps this summer. During team camps, it’s 11 on 11 with light contact.
They are playing at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkandelphia today.
"We’re going up against good competition," Bost said. "We’re on a circuit where we’re going to Stuttgart, Pine Bluff and North Little Rock. We’ll go against some big teams right there. That will be good for us."
Bost said it will be a good gauge for his program.
"When you are in practice and you are going the scout team, you aren’t getting the best look," he said. "We’re going to go against some 6A and 7A schools. We’re real excited about being able to do that this summer."
Bost said his team will take part in two 7-on-7 camps this summer.
"We’ve got two dates at Cabot in July," he said. "With team camps, it’s 11 on 11. So, your quarterback isn’t sitting back there, un-rushed for four seconds, getting to decide what to do. That doesn’t happen in a real game. We want the linemen up there, being able to make blocks for the quarterback."
Last season, the Jackrabbits started off slowly but picked it up late, even upsetting eventual Class 4A state champion Stuttgart in Week 9. The Jackrabbits lost a tough game to Warren in first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
"We lost a lot of skill guys but we like the skill guys who are taking their places," Bost said. "We got back to some things we used to do as far as having a fullback up there and a mobile quarterback, who can run and pass, which makes him a double threat. The defense has to account more for him. That is what we’ve been doing in the spring. You are a whole different team when you have a quarterback who is a running threat."
Bost said his team played some good defense down the stretch of last season.
"The kids who are returning know that we did finish strong," he said. "We had a shot there at Warren. We’re excited to get back and it starts with these team camps."
Bost’s assistants include Drake Widener and Clint Shadwick.
The Jackrabbits open the season at Star City on Friday, Sept. 6. Lonoke then plays consecutive home games against Beebe and Little Rock McClellan before opening 4A-2 conference play at Heber Springs on Sept. 27.
Other home games include Newport on Oct. 4, Marianna on Oct. 25 and Stuttgart on Nov. 1.