Hastin setting new tone with Tigers
When it comes to coaching football, Kevin Hastin is about as straightforward as they come.
The first-year Newberg coach won't choose a slogan or theme for the season, but does have a clear vision for the program he would like to build.
"I focus on pretty much the same thing every year, which is to set a high standard in everything that you do, in the classroom, at home, at practice, in games," Hastin said. "We hold each other to a high standard. We're not focusing on wins and losses. We're focusing on a phenomenal effort and attitude every rep and the wins and losses will take care of themselves."
Hastin also wants his team to adopt a no-nonsense, workman-like attitude when it comes time to take the field.
"We don't want to talk about it," Hastin said. "We want to show it. We're going to be a physical program. That starts with investing in the weight room, practicing harder than our opponents and attacking every rep. That's the mentality that we've taken on."
It wasn't a tough sell for the players, who have embraced Hastin and his staff, which includes returning staffers Colin Schaeffer, Brandon Ramey, Eric Carlson and Nate Reichenbach.
"As soon as I met him in the first meeting we had with him, I knew I was probably going to like this guy," senior Cam Sutton said. "A lot of the seniors agreed with me. We were just kind of wondering, but we were all ready as soon as he got hired and met him to get on board."
With just Hastin and Schaeffer in place in June, the team skipped the typical trip to team camp, instead spending a week by itself at Camp Howard near Corbett. The Tigers were not ready to scrimmage other teams at that point, so Hastin used the time to install his offense and defense, noting that it was a productive camp that helped set the tone for the offseason.
"We have the personnel to run what he wants," Sutton said. "It's a big change because the way he runs things, the way that he wants the culture to be is a lot different. I think we're adjusting nicely to it."
Over the course of the summer, Hastin rounded out his staff, which will include one of his former players from Troy High School in Fullerton, Calif., Rob Beard, who was a placekicker for the University of Oregon.
In addition to working with Newberg's kickers, Beard will coach running backs and strong safeties, with Schaeffer coaching linebackers and coordinating the defense, Ramey handling wide receivers and defensive backs, Hastin overseeing linemen and Carlson coaching quarterbacks.
Hastin tabbed newcomers Keith Keiting and Tom Smith to lead the junior varsity and freshmen teams, respectively, with Matt Turpen heading up the freshmen offense. Reichenbach will assist with the freshman and Daniel Heer will assist Ramey with wide receivers and defensive backs.
"I feel like we have good continuity with the staff and things are going really well," Hastin said. "There's a lot of learning going on, learning a lot about each other."
Players are also responding well to Hastin's preference to lift weights daily before heading out for two hours of practice. He also structures practice so that the entire program is together at the onset and does at least one drill before the freshmen split off to practice on their own.
"Every day we're getting better," senior quarterback Garrett Myers said. "We're tired, but we're still grinding it out. We're doing a good job and I'm really proud of the guys."
Hastin said the leadership from the senior class has been strong, which helped the sophomore and junior classes buy into the new program.
"You have to start there," Hastin said. "First you evaluate your seniors and so far I'm pleased with the seniors. They're the type of group that leads through their actions, a hard-working group, so I've been very impressed with them."
Hastin knew that installing new offensive and defensive schemes with all four classes, as opposed to players learning them in youth football or as freshmen, would be a large task, but said the team has met his expectations so far.
The Tigers will get their first chance to put what they have learned into action Friday at the West Salem jamboree, but Hastin expects the learning curve to continue on through the season, beginning with the opener at home Sept. 1 versus Barlow.
"It's definitely a lot of hard work and a great challenge in front of us, but an exciting challenge so I'm excited to make my mark at Newberg," Hastin said. "So far the kids have been taking everything head on and they're supporting the vision of the program."