West Limestone football coach Jordan Cantrell paused for a few moments on a hot and muggy Thursday afternoon, picking up some discarded aluminum cans near the tractor tires used by his team for strength conditioning.
A self-described clean freak, Cantrell took over the program May 29, attended a community meet-and-greet last Sunday and opened summer workouts Monday.
As the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, the 29-year-old guided the team during spring drills after seven-year coach David Arnsparger resigned in March to take care of his father. Even though his role has expanded, Cantrell said he doesn’t intend to tweak his demonstrative coaching style.
“My coaching style is going to stay the same. I’m a very outgoing and vocal coach that coaches the kids hard. We have a great coaching staff, and each person brings something different to the table,” he said. “We have different styles but I admire Coach Arn. He’s a great friend and mentor and he’s the coach I look up to the most.”
Will McDaniel is returning as the team’s defensive coordinator and running backs coach, while Matt Morris will serve as a defensive assistant and wide receivers coach.
Cantrell said he is searching for an offensive assistant but he will continue to call plays for an offense that runs a hybrid of Wing-T and spread formations. He said he hopes quarterbacks coach Tommy Reyer will be able to return this fall.
“This year we’ll run a lot of variations, and we plan on spreading the field to give the defense different looks. We want to confuse defenses with our formations, run our base plays and dominate at the point of attack,” he said.
West went 7-4 last season, advancing to the Class 4A playoffs for the third time in four years. Cantrell, who played offensive and defensive line for the late Phil Cavnar at East Limestone, said the Wildcats look to their linemen to set the tone.
“We hang our hat up front with our offensive and defensive lines. If you’re not dominant on the line, you can kiss (winning) goodbye. I think the last four years we’ve been able to control the line of scrimmage,” said Cantrell, a weightlifting enthusiast and a past top-five performer in the dead lift and bench press at the national Powerlifter competition.