Quarterbacks Learning Day by Day

Max Hall and Cade Cooper are currently getting the bulk for the reps at the quarterback position. It's been reported every day exactly how each has faired, while fans have tried to read between the lines, picking apart what has been reported. But what goes on behind the scenes leading up to what they show on the field with every practice?

You can talk about any given battle at linebacker, cornerback or even deep-snapper, and it takes a backseat to what is the preeminent battle being waged on and off the practice field in Provo. Yes, I speak of the battle for the starting quarterback spot which has primarily been waged between Max Hall and Cade Cooper this spring.

Each of them have alternatively switched between first and second-team reps and likewise have alternated flashes of future brilliance with notable struggles. Each are battling very hard on the field, but what happens off the field plays a huge impact with what they're able to put on the field during every practice session.

Meetings

The very first thing the quarterbacks and the entire team does that is officially football-related is meet together as a team where, they're addressed by head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Each day has a different theme or emphasis as the Cougar head coach puts forth the marching orders for the coming day's practice session.

"Coach Mendenhall sits us down and addresses us on certain things we need to work on," related Cooper. "He'll address anything whether it be focus, attitude, motivation or technique. He'll touch base on what he feels we need to work on as a team."

The focus is usually very broad as Mendenhall addresses the team as a whole. The specific focus on relevant drills and techniques for the quarterbacks is then addressed once the team breaks up into their respective groups.

"We'll meet with just the quarterbacks and it obviously gets a little more specific and focused," said Cooper. "Coach Doman does a good job going over what we did and what we need to improve on individually and as a group."

Film Breakdown

The chief reference point for any position coach is obviously film taken of previous practices. The quarterback position meeting breaks down every single thing the quarterbacks did the practice before, as coach Doman addresses their footwork, release, reads and everything else under the sun.

"Oh, it's bad, it's brutal. They just grind into us about everything we do," joked Max Hall about going over the film from the day before. "But seriously it's not bad at all and very helpful each time we do it. It's not really grinding, they're just there to help us and we understand that and it helps us a ton going over what we did and what we need to work on."

So how specific is the film review?

"Coach goes over every single thing," said Cooper. "We'll go over every completion, every attempt, to our footwork and everything else. They break us down pretty good and it helps. It helps us focus on what we need to do and we do our best to get better every day."

So is most of this session spent half-covering their eyes as they see their mistakes, or do they gloat about the great plays being made? Is it a little of each or something else altogether?

"There's obviously days when you're not coming off your best day," said Cooper. "Some days are definitely better than others. But that's why we break it down, so we can better recognize our good days from our bad days and know better what specifically we're doing wrong and what things we're doing well."

"Coach Doman does it in a very positive way," added Hall regarding the breaking down of film. "It's never demeaning or anything like that. It's always very helpful and relevant."

Daily Charge

After the film is reviewed the quarterbacks are given an area of focus for the coming day. Each practice sees a focus on one certain area as the quarterbacks look to be as well-rounded as possible.

"The main goal is always to score points no matter what," said Hall. "Of course, we'll come out with a certain game plan of plays we want to work on. It's definitely not the same thing every day where we'll run anything and everything from the playbook; we obviously don't have time. Every practice is focused on a specific game plan and focused on a certain part of the playbook."

While some days will see the quarterbacks open up the offense with numerous passes downfield on slants, deep posts and other fun stuff, other days won't have the quarterbacks throwing many passes over even five yards because the focus changes. It's different every day as they work on getting every part of the playbook up to snuff.

"It changes every day," said Hall. "Of course there's days where you don't run the plays you like or are most comfortable, but that's the reason we're running those plays, so we can get more comfortable. Coach Anae and Coach Doman do a good job breaking up what we do every day so we can progress as much as possible."

"The whole playbook is in," said Cooper. "But coaches of course break it up every day, so we can focus on one specific area.

Settling In

While Hall has been with the program since fall, he's finding a better understanding with every day as he's getting a good chunk of the reps with the first-teamers.

"I'm getting comfortable with the first-teamers more and more every day," said Hall. "I feel that spring has gone very well. I'm progressing as a quarterback with every practice, bur more importantly the team is progressing. We're getting better together, which is obviously very important."

Cooper, meanwhile, is undergoing his first-ever practice sessions at BYU as he is coming straight off of a full season under center at Snow College. While he states obvious struggles, Cooper feels very comfortable with where he's at.

"I probably feel a lot more comfortable than I thought I would at this point," said Cooper. "I feel comfortable with the offense and I feel very comfortable with the coaching staff and how they're going about teaching me and improving my play. I love it here."

So what is the goal for both Hall and Cooper as they continue with their competition this spring heading into the 2007 season?

"Score," said Cooper. "No matter what we do or how we do it, the most important thing is to score points. To get it into the end zone every practice no matter what sets or plays we're running. The important thing is to score."

"Scoring is of course the main focus everyday," echoed Hall. "Every day we focus on getting every part of our game better so we can score. It's all about scoring. You win games by scoring points, so it's always the emphasis, not matter what we're doing to score. That never changes."


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