Practice Report: Offense Responds

During most practice sessions there is a little give and take between the offense and defense. While one session may see one unit dominate, the very next practice often sees the other unit respond and dominate the next session. Friday's two practice sessions bore this out in a very clear manner.

Max Hall had the offense rolling during Friday's second practice, going 6-of-6 for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Hall's two touchdown passes came by way of a 40-yard heave to O'Neill Chambers and a 6-yard toss to Andrew George.

"We didn't make plays this morning, but we did this afternoon," said Hall. "What was important today was that we came out and responded in the two-minute drill and guys did make plays, and that was the difference."

In addition to Chambers and George, Hall hit Harvey Unga, Fui Vakapuna, Luke Ashworth and Michael Reed with impressive throws. Slowly but surely the offense is beginning to hit its stride and has been adding plays to its arsenal with every practice session.

"We're opening it up," said Hall. ‘We're doing a lot more man-concepts and giving the defense all they can handle right now, and they're giving us all that we can handle."

One of Friday's plays saw Hall hitting a streaking Vakapuna up the middle of the field for about a 20-yard gain. Vakapuna is becoming more and more comfortable with his new role in the evolving Cougar offense.

"Fui made a great play and catch today down the middle of the field," observed Hall. "In the past that would never happen, so things are just opening up. Coach Anae has a lot of confidence in us and it's going to be really exciting."

Chambers Makes the Play

Making what could very well be considered the play of the entire fall practice session so far was O'Neill Chambers with his 40-yard touchdown catch.

Chambers faced tight man coverage from Brandon Howard down the sideline when Hall hit him perfectly in stride. Due to the tight coverage Chambers only managed to get one hand on the ball, but that was all he needed as he snared the pass in impressive fashion before gliding toward the end zone.

"It was a comeback and go and I messed up on it before," said Chambers about the play. "But I worked on it and Max trusted me that time and I just went up and got it."

From the pocket Hall was impressed and pleased with the play of his true freshman wideout.

"It was nice," said Hall about Chambers' catch. "Having guys that can make plays like that is big, so when you throw a ball up and have a guy come down with it like that … Austin [Collie] is that guy right now, but other guys are showing that ability as well."

Time is of Essence

One of the bigger challenges facing Max Hall this fall practice session is developing proper timing with some new receivers that have had to play more due to Austin Collie being held out. Timing is the most essential ingredient of any passing attack, so Hall has worked hard to develop that timing with his new guys.

"They're getting there, but they're nowhere near where me and Austin are," said Hall regarding his timing with his new receivers. "Me and Austin have been doing it for two years now, so when he comes back we're not going to miss a beat. But it's starting to click and you can see it. The first week guys were just running around not knowing what to do, but it's getting better and we're moving the ball."

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