New Lonoke coach Taggart Moore started his first football practice of the fall Monday with 52 Jackrabbits.
“We were missing about five,” Moore said. “We had a couple on vacation. We’ve had close to 60 at times, but a couple decided not to play. But still, we will almost double the numbers we had last year.”
Moore was defensive coordinator a year ago and was named interim coach after Doug Bost resigned in September. He was named head coach a few months later.
Lonoke finished 2-8 last year.
The Jackrabbits will work Wednesday and Friday this week from 7-10 a.m. With team photos scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, the Jackrabbits will go that day from 2-5 p.m.
“We’ll be in helmets the first two days trying to get acclimated,” Moore said Monday. “We went back through today and started from Square 1 — every technique we put through in the summer, running plays, passing concepts, basic blitzes.
“We had a really heavy conditioning and weights session, and we’ll do that the next couple of days.”
Moore said the Jackrabbits had made great progress over the summer.
“We worked really hard, did a lot of lifting and running and playing games, a lot of team-building, trying to teach leadership things that we’ve lacked the last few years,” he said. “Everything we did this summer was to try to change the mentality — not just physical conditioning, but mental conditioning, too. We tried to put them in the worst situations possible and see what they could do.”
He praised the summer work of several players, including senior quarterback Daniel Seigrist and senior receiver Ethan Mulligan.
“Daniel has stepped in and done a great job,” Moore said. “He’s another coach on the field. Ethan has really stepped up as a leader. He’s smart; he knows all the positions and how to get the guys in place for formations. He’s a coach on the field, too. Having both of those guys out there makes you feel good.”
Two sophomores have earned starting slots. Carson Devinney will go at outside linebacker; Peyton Lamb will start at left guard and defensive end.
“We’re really excited,” Moore said. “We’ve got everybody in place now. We’ve used all these team camps and 7-on-7s to figure out who we can depend on and who our playmakers are going to be. We’ve found a lot of different kids who have stepped up and taken ownership.”
But Moore was not all football this summer. His wife, Anna, gave birth to the couple’s first child, son Mills, on July 15.