Hall Leading the Charge

With the graduation of quarterback John Beck, the quarterback derby is off to a fast start. Sophomore quarterback Max Hall, who led the scout team last year, led the first team offense towards much success on the field today.

Every team has its influences that shape and mold its disposition and demeanor. One could visibly see how the team responded differently under the direction of Coach Mendenhall once he became the head coach.

The same holds true from the influences of those players who are in a position to lead the team. Quarterback John Beck was always calm and confident whether his offense was in a tough position or had a first-and-goal.

During today's practice one could see how the players on offense are beginning to take on a different identity than last year. The adamant and visibly competitive nature of Max Hall seems to be filtering through the ranks with contagious fervor.

"When I put on a football helmet, I'm a different guy," chuckled Hall. "I get fired up. I hate to lose, and I like to win, so when I score on someone I like to let them know about it. I wanted to let the defense know that we got into the end zone on them three times today."

After every touchdown, Hall led the offense in a mad dash towards the end zone to celebrate as a group in a post game locker room victory fashion.

"We also had a talk about it," Hall said. "When we get into the end zone, let's celebrate it because there is no reason why we shouldn't celebrate. We don't want to showboat, but celebrate as a team, so every time we do that in the spring, you're going to see us celebrate, and that's how it's going to be.

"Every quarterback is different and brings different qualities to their team," said Hall. "I like to get fired up and celebrate like that and let my guys know that they did a good job, so it was a lot of fun being out there with my guys today."

Having redshirted last year as the quarterback who ran the scout team offense, Hall was able to see how John Beck conducted himself as a person and as a quarterback in leading the first team offense.

"I've learned a lot from John Beck," Hall said. "One of the biggest things John has taught me is how to run this offense effectively and almost perfect, and second is how to be a good leader and a great quarterback, and that's what John is. John is such a great person, and he was someone that all the guys really looked up to, and that's what I want to achieve while I'm here."

Right now, Hall has been given the lead by the BYU coaching staff to run the first team offense, and today he ran the bulk of the first team repetitions.

"You know, I've just been here longer and they decided and let me start off running the ones and put me in the front spot right now," Hall said. "I think I have a really good relationship with all of our guys like the receivers and linemen on the offense. I've been here longer than most of the other [quarterbacks] and have played with [the team] longer, and so I definitely feel real comfortable stepping up and leading the group today.

"It's still a job to earn and a job to battle for, so they let me go with the first group right off the bat, and I wanted to take advantage of that and every situation I can. I felt like I did a good job at that today, and I just need to keep this thing rolling. I think the feeling was by spring they wanted to name a quarterback, but I really don't know how it's going to pan out. I'm just going to work hard every day to put myself in a good situation."

Switching from learning and implementing the offenses of opponents while on the scout team to learning the team's own offense with different players was not a problem for Hall on the first day of practice. He looked confident, knowledgeable and in synch with his offense, which was surprising given the defensive talent and returning experience.

"It's a lot easier when you're reading," Hall said. "Before, you're just kind of looking for the open guys and using some concepts to help you out there, but now when you're out there, you know where you're supposed to throw the ball…the awesome thing about this offense is no matter what, you always have somewhere to throw the ball whether it's a check down or you've got the deep ball open. I've been hitting the film room really hard and have been in there every day. I did not want to step into spring ball and not know what I was doing, so I feel like I know what I'm doing out there, and I'm really comfortable out there."

"The biggest thing is being familiar with what your guys are going to do rather than drawing stuff up in the sand and saying, ‘Okay, you run this and you run that.' I know exactly where my guys are going to be and what they're going to do. Once you get the timing down things just run sweet, and things just flow really well out there."

So what did he think of Austin Collie's first day of Division I spring practice in two years?

"He looked sweet, didn't he?" Hall said. "He made a couple of awesome grabs today and made a key diving catch on a comeback route that set up a score. He's looking really good, and not only that, but all of our receivers are looking awesome right now.

"You know, one of the things I love about Austin is how hard he works every single day. I'll grab him to go throw or he'll grab me to go to the gym, and we do something every single day to get better. We're really similar in that way and we will do what ever it takes to win and that's how it is going to be."

Hall feels that as a sophomore he has a great opportunity to succeed as a quarterback, given the talent that surrounds him.

"You know, it's funny because we don't have a weakness on offense," Hall said. "You look at these guys like Bryce [Mahuika] and Ryan Neeley, who is stepping it up and is in the top four in the wide receiver rotation, and you can see how well these guys are playing. Bryce is another Nate Meikle-type player, and we have other guys that are awesome. I'm feeling really, really comfortable with all of them, and I'm just dang excited man. I'm just excited because good things are going to happen this year.

"It's kind of amazing when you lose guys like Jonny Harline and Dan Coats but you got guys like Vic So'oto, Andrew George and Dennis Pitta stepping up. I mean, that's a dang good group of tight ends right there. Not a lot of teams around the country have a group of tight ends on their team like we have. In all areas, we have a lot of awesome guys. We have some guys like Fui who are out but we've had some guys step up and we had a really good day today. I felt really good about it. Every position that we have we have guys stepping up, and I'm just really excited about what we have here. Today was a good first day."


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