Fall Practice Preview: Quarterbacks

Max Hall is set to start for his third straight season, which should lead to a lot of production from the quarterback position. While the starting spot will be undisputed this fall practice session, it's the backup positions that hold the intrigue. All eyes will be on Riley Nelson and his progression as the season wears on.

With a full two years of starting experience under his belt and with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, Max Hall (6-1, 201) should be raring to put up some big numbers this coming season. Not often does a BYU senior starter not put up big numbers, and such should certainly be the case for Hall in 2009.

Throw in the fact that Hall has two years of very productive quarterback work under his belt, and fans can afford to be even more optimistic regarding his prospects. Hall also has back some of his best weapons to add to his arsenal, which should provide productive dividends.

Hall is also one of the most competitive players - if not the most competitive - that I've covered at BYU. Believe me when I tell you that Hall doesn't like the taste that was left in his mouth at the end of last season, and he'll do everything possible to rectify it.

Hall is also as bright as they come. He worked very hard this spring to make the proper adjustments in his game so as to avoid repeating what ailed him at the close of last season. This progress has gone on during the offseason workout period, and Hall should be as poised and ready to have a huge final season at BYU as any senior quarterback that has gone before him. TBS is bullish on Max Hall.

Right Behind

While the starting spot is secure, who will be backing up Hall remains in question. Brenden Gaskins (6-4, 213 Sr.) has taken the backup duties to Hall in each of his past two years and will likely do so again during his final season at BYU.

Gaskins is well-schooled within the program and should work to add some security at the quarterback position this season. While we know pretty much what we'll be seeing from Gaskins, it's the other quarterback that will be competing for the backup role that holds the most intrigue this fall.

Riley Nelson (6-1, 195 So.) comes to BYU as a Utah prep football legend. After spending a year at Utah State Nelson transferred to BYU following his mission, and what he's able to show this coming practice session will be a huge focus for fans and media alike.

Nelson isn't your classic drop-back quarterback and is relatively short in stature, but his strengths are a lot like those of his position coach, Coach Doman, when he started for BYU. Indeed, Nelson is a "gamer" who just gets it done no matter what level of football he's playing at. How he adapts in Anae's offense will be of much interest this coming August.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has also made mention that Nelson will be used in key situations during the season. How his role develops will be something we'll be noting throughout practices and during the season.

Parker Mangum (6-4, 210 Sr.) will round out the quarterback ranks and add depth to the position. Mangum has played a variety of positions with the scout team since arriving at BYU and is understandably raw at the quarterback position coming out of spring. He is a great athlete, however, and will be adding good depth the quarterback position.

What I'll be Watching

As mentioned, Riley Nelson will attract a lot of attention this fall. How can Nelson thrive in Anae's offensive system, what unique qualities can he bring to the position, and can he move the ball? All of those questions will be addressed in large part this coming month.

How Max Hall fares during practices will also be well worth noting. John Beck was all but flawless during most practice sessions as a senior. Beck had a full grasp on the offense, confidence in his receivers and ended a lot of practice sessions virtually perfect.

One should readily expect the same sort of production from Hall this coming month in preparation for the season. Hall has already shone during most practice sessions he's been involved with, but look for him to be much better situated within Anae's offensive system on the way to a monster 2009 season.


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