FOOTBALL | Vartanian vague on South Kitsap’s offensive overhaul

Cory Vartanian will serve as the offensive coordinator this season with coach Eric Canton inheriting more defensive responsibilities. - File Photo
Cory Vartanian will serve as the offensive coordinator this season with coach Eric Canton inheriting more defensive responsibilities.
— image credit: File Photo

New South Kitsap offensive coordinator Cory Vartanian plays coy.

“I want to talk about what it is we’re going to do because I’m excited about it,” he said.

But Vartanian, who assumed the offensive-coordinator role during the summer from third-year South coach Eric Canton, does not want to delve into details as the Wolves prepare for their Sept. 5 opener at Central Kitsap.

Vartanian, who was a kicker from 2002-05 at North Dakota State University, said the transition occurred to enable Canton to serve as defensive coordinator and coach the secondary. The role change means Vartanian will call plays for the first time.

He said he will maintain the three-receiver set that has become a staple of South’s offense since Canton took over in 2012. Former coaches Ed Fisher and D.J. Sigurdson used a traditional offense with a tight end that often served as a de facto sixth lineman.

But CK coach Mark Keel did not notice much of a difference in the offense after the Cougars earned a 28-14 win Nov. 1 against the Wolves at Joe Knowles Field.

“I think they gave us our best shot,” he said. “We knew what we had to stop and I think we did that — their counter and their lead. I’ve always said if you can get South Kitsap passing, you’ve got them where you want them.”

How much that changes remains to be seen.

“I’m a Midwest boy,” said Vartanian, a Wisconsin native. “Big Ten ball is where I’m at. I like running the ball and a lot of play-action off it.”

But citing Northwest universities, such as Oregon and Washington State, Vartanian said offenses have evolved and it is important for the Wolves to keep up with trends.

“We’re still predominantly a run-first football team,” he said. “We’re going to get into — as the year goes on — putting the ball into playmakers’ hands with Cooper as quarterback and we’ve got some great athletes at the wide-receiver position, as well.”

Vartanian expects to the offense to expand as the season progresses.

“We’re going to adapt as a coaching staff to who we have as playmakers,” he said, adding that the offensive focus could change on an annual basis depending on the team’s strengths. “We have to see where our best athletes are, what positions they play and how we can utilize them into our offense. You have to get the ball into your playmakers’ hands.”

Senior Cooper Canton, who returns to start for a second consecutive year at quarterback, expects the offense to change this season.

“I think he’s going to open it up a little bit more,” he said. “I’m excited. I want to throw the ball.”

Vartanian worked with South’s linemen along with their special-teams units last season. The younger Canton thinks Vartanian’s experience and knowledge will serve the offense well.

He has a great mind for football,” he said. “For him to share that with the offense will be important for us.”

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