By NR Staff • 

Hill settles in during workouts

Marcus Larson/News-RegisterNew McMinnville football coach Robin Hill talks to a few supporters in March after being hired by the school district.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
New McMinnville football coach Robin Hill talks to a few supporters in March after being hired by the school district.

“Fast, crisp, sharp,” Hill said.

That was asking a lot considering Hill brings an entirely new offense with him, as well as an altered defense and overall new team philosophy. Still, Hill said he accomplished everything he wanted to in the week.

“It was a fun week,” he said. “I was impressed with their enthusiasm.

“Good start.”

Hill used the word “enthusiasm” multiple times this week in describing how the workouts went. He brings the wing-T offense to McMinnville after successfully using a version of it for decades in Salem. Hill is well known around the state and in Salem for the 24 years he spent as the head coach of the Sprague Olympians. He led Sprague to 21 playoff appearances, going 22-20 in the postseason. Hill twice coached the Olympians to the state championship game, including 2004 when the Olympians won.

Hill said one of his favorite parts of the offense is that it can be tweaked to accommodate each team’s best players. With returning all-conference quarterback Gage Gubrud and a few good receivers, Mac’s version of the wing-T in 2013 should feature a fair amount of passing.

Another encouraging thing for Hill, he said, were the amount of players who showed up. Assistant Don Rutschman said the numbers were up from last year, with 70-80 participating each day.

The Grizzlies are also finalizing their coaching staff. Hill said he is retaining Rutschman as well as assistants Ryan McIrvin and Mike Gower. McIrvin and Rutschman will coach the defense. Hill said he’s also in the final stages of adding a couple of more position coaches.

“I’m very impressed with the coaches that are here,” Hill said.

Now the Grizzlies move on to summer workouts. Mac will hold three workouts each week with weights and on-the-field drills. Hill is also finalizing a passing league schedule.

“The kids there will reap the rewards of continuing to work,” he said.

Things have finally settled down for Mac. Rutschman took over last July for outgoing coach Jeff Kearin, who took a job at Occidental College in California after spending two years at Mac. Rutschman coached the Grizzlies to a fourth-place finish in the Pacific Conference and a 5-5 record. Mac also earned its first home playoff game in eight seasons.

The Grizzlies open the 2013 football season on the road at Centennial, which went 2-9 last season in the 6A Mt. Hood Conference. Mac then plays a home game vs. 5A Madison.

McMinnville lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2012 at home vs. the Sunset Apollos 49-42.

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