Spartans meet new football coach
Paul Hall laid out the story of how he came to be the head football coach at Sun Valley High and how he will treat the upcoming season when he met the players for the first time on Friday.
Hall and the Spartans have just two and a half months to get ready before taking the field against Charlotte Christian in the opening game for the entire state of North Carolina at Memorial Stadium Aug. 22.
That time means a fast and furious pace for the remainder of the offseason for a program that has reached the quarterfinals of 4A state playoffs the last two years.
"He was just telling us what he knows right now," said receiver Nigel Wiley, a rising senior. "He knows a lot about what we're going to do."
Hall will work with the team for the first time on Wednesday.
Wiley says the Spartans will have to pay attention to detail to catch up.
"When we start getting our plays, we have to be sure we get it right and get it done the first time," he said. "We can't be messing around during practice."
Hall was asked a variety of questions — from practice time, to style of offense to Twitter comments.
"They are kids, there are no silly questions," Hall said. "They have the right to know. They've been waiting. ... We'll evaluate our talent as a coaching staff. That's another thing, over the next few weeks we're going to have to get our coaching staff intact and make some decisions together."
Hall made a good impression Jake Beachum, a returning starter on the offensive lineman, with his ideas about how the offense will work.
"I think he looks like a pretty good coach," Beachum said. "I think he will do fine this season. I like the running the ball idea. I don't know about passing the ball but we'll do fine with what offense he's got."
Beachum knows the bar has been set high with the recent success of the program, and he's willing to work to maintain it.
"I want him to bring a hard-work mentality and keep us in the weight room a lot," Beachum said.
Hall has spent the last three seasons at R.J. Reynolds, and finished 4-7 last season.
Hall realizes he's coming into a committed environment.
"It looks like there is a lot of excitement," Hall said. "It looks like the kids are ready to get going and so are we. Obviously they have kind of been at a stand still. You can look out there and see they're ready to go. There are good numbers. A lot of good numbers returning as far as kids that have played varsity football so there is a lot of experience. I'm excited about that.
"Now we have to get going as far as getting organized and getting our summer schedule together. We'll hit the road running."
Hall told the Spartans he ran pass plays about 60 percent of the time at Reynolds, but plans to lean more on the running game.
Sun Valley will be breaking in a new quarterback, but they can lean on all-state running back Albert Funderburk.
Wiley, though, believes they have a quarterback that is ready to be a productive starter in Isah Meric.
"He will be fine and good," Wiley said said of Meric. "We still have Albert but he can't run it every play so we'll throw it some."
A coaching change can be tough on players, but Beachum is taking it in stride.
"I'm going to miss coach (Scott) Stein," Beachum said. "He was a good coach but we'll see what this new coach has to offer."
Hall doesn't plan to make major changes. He doesn't believe in overhauling a program that's been winning.
"They've been waiting and waiting so they are ready to get going," Hall said. "You may have to go a few more reps with things. Obviously as far as X's and O's we'll tweak a lot of things so there is not a totally new system that has to be taught."
Sun Valley's 2013
Aug. 22 vs. Charlotte Christian
Aug. 30 Hoke County
Sept. 6 at A.L. Brown
Sept. 13 at Rocky River
Sept. 20 Porter Ridge
Sept. 27 Monroe
Oct. 4 OPEN
Oct. 11 Piedmont
Oct. 18 at Marvin Ridge
Oct. 25 at Weddington
Nov. 1 Cuthbertson
Nov. 8 at Anson Co.