Hall Making His Mark

Before August camp, sophomore guard Chris Hall was seemingly an afterthought on the Texas depth chart. Now, less than two weeks before the start of the 2007 season, coaches are raving about what Hall has done in camp. He's pushing hard for a starting job and it might not even be at offensive guard...

Heading into August camp, the 2007 Texas offensive line was locked down, set and ready to go. True, Longhorn coaches always say publicly that there's "no depth chart," but the top five were clear.

In fact, all the way back in December, offensive coordinator Greg Davis told Inside Texas after a pre-Alamo Bowl press conference that Charlie Tanner had emerged at left guard, meaning he would fill the final spot on the offensive line to go along with Adam Ulatoski at right tackle, Cedric Dockery at right guard, Dallas Griffin at center and Tony Hills at left tackle.

Through spring football, this remained the case and when August camp arrived, Tanner still held the left guard position and Dockery was back from his ACL tear and holding down the right guard spot.

Then a peculiar thing happened. A contender for a starting job exploded onto the scene. It was first made note of when a reporter asked a fairly standard and obvious question of Texas head coach Mack Brown: "Who's standing out in camp?"

"Chris Hall," said Brown, naming a player that few expected to hear.

What about when offensive coordinator Greg Davis was asked the same question the next day?

"Chris Hall," said Davis, with Hall being the first player that came to mind.

Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter?

"Chris Hall."

Ok, so he's a hard worker who caught the coaches' eyes, but is he actually contending for a starting spot?

"No question," said Davis. "He's fighting at left guard, center, right guard."

Ever since the second day of August camp, Texas coaches had been working Hall at all three interior positions and have been impressed with the work he's done at each spot. Davis said regardless of where Hall ends up, if he's one of the five best linemen, he'll start.

"When it gets down to game week, we'll say, 'Ok, this is the most ready five' and we'll go and he is big time in the mix," said Davis.

But what's been different about this camp? Why has the sophomore guard suddenly caught fire? According to Hall, it's simply because he feels he's comfortable and finally a part of the team.

"This camp has been a blast," Hall told Inside Texas excitedly. "The thing that's really clicked is I really feel a part of the team. If anything's changed, it's just been more fun and I feel like I'm really a part of this team, whereas, maybe, when I redshirted, I felt like this is their team and I'm outside watching."

Hall has spent roughly an equal amount of time in each of the three interior line spots during August camp and says that he feels comfortable in each position.

"I've taken most of my reps at guard here at the University of Texas, but I've enjoyed my time at center here this fall camp, so I can't say I really feel more comfortable at any position. They've all been pretty enjoyable."

Hall told Inside Texas that he's had a lot of opportunities in practice because coaches have been rotating linemen and working on different combinations of starters in different positions. He also had a chance to work with the ones during spring when Dockery was rehabbing his ACL tear. Hall said that, along with the talented players at Texas pushing him, has also contributed to his rapid ascension into the spotlight.

"Being with the ones and getting the reps in the spring really helped, for sure, and just playing next to Adam and next to Tony and being in the middle next to Charlie and Dock and playing next to Dallas, it's really helped my game play," said Hall.

Hall also said he's hoping that now, in his third year on the 40 Acres, he can do more than just perform. He hopes that his performance will allow him to be a great leader by example.

"I may not have been gifted vocally as much as other guys like Tony Hills, but hopefully I can lead by practicing hard and taking the right steps and honoring Coach Brown in that way," said Hall.

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