Prep Football: Hall likes what he sees at Oakman

OAKMAN — Change is in the air at Oakman High School. For the first time in a decade, the Wildcats have a new head football coach in Ryan Hall, who put his team through their third spring practice on Monday. “I’m having a blast,” said Hall, who takes over for Mark Hastings. “The energy has been good. The kids have really done a good job of keeping the energy up and staying focused every day. I’m really excited about that. We talk about looking through the windshield all the time — believing that the best is yet to come. That’s the mentality. We are staying focused on what’s right in front of us.” More than 50 players are going through the spring practice session, which ends with a scrimmage on Friday, May 17. Between now and then, Hall is introducing a new system to his team, but he says that’s not the most important objective. “Evaluation and competition in the spring, more than the scheme and all that,” Hall said. “I think the kids know this — everything is open. It’s all competition. Everybody is competing and trying to figure out where they are at. We aren’t playing anybody (in a spring jamboree). We are just trying to get the kids to understand the system and the way we do things.”

While most new coaches inherit a team that has hit rock bottom, Hall takes over a program that has advanced to the playoffs each of the last eight years. Oakman also brings back All-State running back Christian Hubbard, who rushed for 1,803 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. “Obviously, everybody knows about Christian Hubbard, but we’ve got a bunch of guys returning. I think we have some kids with upside and potential,” Hall said. The team will go through practice on Wednesday and Friday this week and will hit the field every day next week leading into the scrimmage. Hall, who was hired in January, is enjoying his first stint as a high school head football coach. “I’ve really tried to enjoy every moment of every day. The kids have made it a lot of fun. You know we’ve got great facilities here,” Hall said, acknowledging the new indoor facility, “but the best thing here is the kids. “They are hard-working kids. They are appreciative and they’ve done a good job in buying in what we are trying to teach them, and the way we want to do things. I’ve been really proud of them. I’m really excited for the work they’ve put in so far in the weight room and out here (practice field). I’ve enjoyed being around them.”