Hall Steps Up

Quarterback Max Hall made some important strides this past Thursday against a very aggressive TCU Horned Frog defense. He has been progressing every day, taking what quarterback coach Brandon Doman has taught to heart and going from there. Hall and Doman said they feel the best is yet to come as Hall continues to improve steadily during every practice and every game.

While Hall has put together better stats on the year, most agree that Thursday's game against TCU was his best performance to date, considering all factors involved. Quick releases, a great third-down conversion rate and overall management of the pocket were the hallmarks of Hall's game against TCU.

"We had a great game plan going in and I credit my offensive line a lot," said Hall regarding his performance. "I was able to execute [by] just taking to heart what Coach Doman stressed throughout the week and throughout the season so far."

Hall's success against TCU was no accident, as the strides he made specifically were exactly the same things Coach Doman stressed to him throughout the week and throughout the year.

"Max has been very coachable every week," said Doman. "Last week we spent a ton of time on converting third down, [and] a ton of time on blitzes where Max had to see the inside blitzes, the corner blitzes and all the other things TCU would throw at him on third down. So, it's nice to see that the areas we focused on most being the most successful things Max executed during the game."

Hall was able to lead the offense to a very impressive third-down conversion rate during the game. Against TCU, BYU converted 13 of 19 third-down attempts. Even more impressive was the conversion rate on third-and-five or longer, with Hall helping the offense convert 10 of 13 tries - two of which came with Hall running for the markers when his pass options were shut down.

"It's something we focused on throughout the week, knowing they'd come hard every third-down play, which they did," said Hall. "I know this team was great last year [at] converting third downs with John [Beck], and we're trying to match that and we made some strides this past game for sure."

"I've been telling Max that if he could combine his first- and second-down efficiency against Colorado State with the way he managed third down and blitzes against TCU, that he's going to be really good," said Doman. "He's got momentum now. He's definitely gaining momentum and confidence with every game, which is important for a young quarterback."

Making quick and accurate reads when faced with the blitz is of chief importance for a quarterback. It doesn't end there however; if a quarterback is to put up third-and-long numbers similar to what Hall compiled last week, he must also excel at pocket management, seeing where the blitz is coming from immediately, knowing when to step up in the pocket, and more.

"What I've tried to teach Max is that someone is coming unblocked on every single play," said Doman. "You have to recognize where that is coming from immediately, who is blitzing, from which side, [and] remember if we have protection from that side, and if not, then you better get us into the right situation. Last week if you go back and look at the blitzing situations, I think he delivered the ball to the right guy on time in almost every instance."

Of course, Hall wasn't perfect on third down and some balls fell incomplete. But what was important to Coach Doman was that Hall avoided sacks, and that even if Hall didn't complete the pass, the pass was at least going to the right guy.

"He executed the game plan about as well as I could have hoped," said Doman. "Even when he didn't get the first down, the ball was out of there to the right guy, which is very important as you avoid sacks, turnovers that come with sacks, and interceptions [from] trying to throw to the wrong guy."

Hall was quick to credit his coaching staff for any success and progress he sees on the field. Listening to Coach Doman and internalizing everything he stresses has led to his success as much as anything else, he said.

"You know, Coach Doman is a great coach," said Hall. "I knew that coming in and I knew that if I just listened and did everything he coaches, that I'd be as successful as I could as a quarterback. I still have a long way to go and I'm learning every day, but I'm confident that if I continue to progress and take everything Coach [Doman] tells me to heart, that I can become a very good quarterback."

Great quarterbacks are built slowly with every game and with every practice. It's not a single occurrence, but an arduous process that leads to building a great quarterback, and Hall is certainly on his way.

"It's all about a young guy having simple successes along the way," said Doman in regards to a quarterback's development. "Those simple successes then turn into huge successes for him, and that is what happened to Max this past game against TCU. He had a small but important success against a very tough opponent, and it will lead to great things. He's had a lot of simple successes already before this game, but as he continues to have those simple successes, great things will come."

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