Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
When David Arnsparger isn't teaching history at West Limestone, he will be calling the shots on the football field as the head coach of the Wildcats.
New optimism at W. Limestone
Arnsparger wants team to learn from the past
By Josh Cooper
LESTER — So, if you're West Limestone High and you've won four football games in the past three years, the best thing to do is to hire a new history teacher.
Of course, it helps if the history teacher has 19 years of collegiate coaching experience and his father is a former NFL head coach. When first-year coach David Arnsparger became the head football coach at West Limestone in June, it was a package deal for the former Florida and Notre Dame assistant, and Alabama A&M receivers coach.
Arnsparger spent a lifetime on the sidelines as the son of former New York Giants and LSU head coach Bill Arnsparger.
The younger Arnsparger had a dream to be a high school history teacher, a role he is embracing at West Limestone.
“It’s a lot of new challenges,” Arnsparger said. “A lot of new things, a new system to have to learn to work. Any time to you go some place different, you have to learn to work within a system, and that is what I am doing right now.”
One of main differences so far between Arnsparger and former coach Jeff Prince has been Arnsparger’s teaching methods.
According to players, their new coach is more hands-on with telling them how to use certain techniques. While he can be tough, Arnsparger is supportive and helpful when they need him to be.
Arnsparger has increased the number of assistants on the team from three to five. He often praises his group and says that they have helped him in his transition to his first-ever head coaching position.
“There is much better teaching,” said offensive and defensive lineman Dustin Morrell. “We are being taught better techniques and how to hit properly. It helps out a lot having all that experience coming over here. He knows what he is doing.”
What is also helping is a group of experienced players who are easing Arnsparger’s transition.
One of the first people who reached out to the new coach was quarterback Tommy Reyer.
Upon Arnsparger’s hiring, the quarterback invited the new coach to his house just to go over some film and create a rapport with him.
Reyer, who also plays defensive back will often be throwing to senior wide receiver Ross McClung and junior Jeremy White in Arnsparger’s “pro-style” offense.
Senior Chris Wilbanks also returns and is a guy who will carry part of the load on offense at running back, the coaches say.
On the offensive line, along with Borrell, senior Ethan Pressnell will help out. Pressnell also plays on the defensive line.
More than just adding wins to the program, the Wildcats are hoping to change the culture with the football team.
When Arnsparger talks about his team, the most important aspect of being the West Limestone coach is getting the community involved. But he knows that another one-win season would be counterproductive in doing so.
“We want a community that is involved, a school that is involved with the community,” Arnsparger said. “We want people in the community to be involved in what we are doing. The biggest way to get that kind of reaction from the community is to win football games. That is what we are here to do. We are going to play every game to try to win every game. And that is what you do in football.”
West Limestone at a glance
Last year: 1-9. Did not make state playoffs.
Coach: David Arnsparger (0-0, first year at school).
Noteworthy: Arnsparger brings a long and distinguished resume to West Limestone ... His collegiate coaching stops include Florida and Notre Dame as graduate assistants, Louisiana-Monroe, Cornell, Wyoming and Alabama A&M ... Two of the Wildcats’ first three region games are on the road at Colbert County and Elkmont ... After winning its season-opening game against Holly Pond last year, West Limestone gave up 32 or more points to its opponents in each of its final nine games, all losses.
West Limestone schedule, results
8-31 Holly Pond
9-7 at Colbert County (R)
9-14 Colbert Heights (R)
9-21 at Elkmont (R)
9-28 at Ardmore
10-5 Sheffield (R)
10-12 at Lexington (R)
10-19 Lauderdale County (R)
10-26 at Clements (R)
11-2 Good Hope
(R)-Class 3A, Region 8
at Holly Pond W, 20-13
vs. Colbert County L, 60-14
at Colbert Heights L, 49-14
vs. Elkmont L, 39-16
vs. Ardmore L, 32-6
at Sheffield L, 41-0
vs. Lexington L, 41-13
at Lauderdale County L, 42-8
vs. Clements L, 40-6
at Good Hope L, 32-7
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