Football: Canton shuffling assistants' responsibilities

The switch from yellow to white facemasks is not the only change new South Kitsap football coach Eric Canton has in store.

As spring practices for the Wolves wrap up this week, Canton said he also has made significant adjustments to the responsibilities of assistant coaches.

Under former coach D.J. Sigurdson, assistants worked with units on both sides of the ball. That no longer will be the case under Canton. His coaches will focus on a single unit. The offensive assistants will include Ryan Bradley (offensive line), a volunteer who coached with Canton last year at John Sedgwick Junior High, Troy Charlton (running backs), Cory Dame (wide receivers) and Cory Vartanian (offensive line). Canton said he will coach quarterbacks and serve as co-defensive coordinator with Adam Kanouse (linebackers). They will be joined on the defensive side by Joey Dame (defensive backs) and Rob Ells (defensive line). Canton said he expects Vartanian, who was a kicker at North Dakota State University, to be involved with special teams, as well.

While coaches mostly will focus on individual units, Canton said players will continue to compete on both sides of the ball. He said the individual portion of each practice will be divided evenly with players splitting time on each side. Canton said that will limit depth at all positions and force athletes, particularly young ones, to be active participants.

"When we go into individual units, those kids who are kind of hanging out in back will have to get in there," Canton said. "I think it’s making a big difference."

Another major adjustment this spring involves switching the terminology. With the exception of Bradley, each assistant coached under Sigurdson, which means they are adjusting to changes along with the players. Canton said he feels South needs to give opponents some different looks, which means the Wolves will line up in more formations this fall. To compensate for that, Canton decided to simplify the plays.

"It's going to take them awhile to figure out that terminology," he said. "We're all learning. We’re all going to make mistakes.

"We won't be as diversified as we will be at the end of the season."

Canton said as many as 90 players have participated in spring practices, but noted that includes a handful of eighth-graders. He said numbers have fluctuated as players have practiced with other sports teams at the school or sat out to focus on improving their grades.

Despite that, Canton said he is happy with how his team has looked.

"I think we're further along than I thought we would be," he said.


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