With a new season on the horizon and entering a third year with the Houston Texans, safety Andre Hal enters with high expectations. Going through a position change last season by transitioning from cornerback to safety, Hal had to wait for his opportunity to get on the field in 2015. His rookie season against the Philadelphia Eagles, Hal was forced into action. It was not one of his best games, capped off by giving up a long touchdown to Jeremy Maclin.
Hal used that game as a wake up call for life in the NFL.
“I learned that it is hard, that the NFL is hard. All these guys are great guys and all teams have go-to guys,” explained Hal of that game his rookie season. “I learned I really have to go out there and be focused every play and every game I really have to be focused. Going through that really prepared me for what I am now.”
Hal is refusing to let a slide happen in his play on the field after last season, when he led the team with four interceptions in only 11 starts. He also chipped in 36 total tackles and 10 pass deflections. This off season he committed himself to ensuring he was both physically and mentally prepared for the safety position, using his learning experiences from last season to get ready.
“I had to get stronger. Playing safety, I am going against tight ends and linemen,” said Hal. “I have to fit in the run game and I really focused on being mentally prepared. I read a lot of books about being mentally strong, mentally tough over the off-season. Playing safety you can’t be focused on one thing, you have to see everything. Reading really helped me see the big picture.”
With new expectations and an even bigger role within the Texans defense, Hal has realized the mental part of the game is just as important as the physical side of the game. Hal, like many players in the league, is catching up to the learning curve that many don’t see this early into their career.
“That game showed me to study more, read routes and make it more of a mental game.”