Jaren Hall hasn’t started a game for BYU Football since the Cougars played Utah State in 2019.
I’ve got a confession. I have been on team Baylor Romney for a long time. In fact, I thought going into the 2020 season that Romney should be given a good look with Zach Wilson just because of how solid he played in 2019.
Then I re-watched the 2019 BYU vs Utah State game and everything changed. The highlights below of Hall are in the first 12 minutes.
I realized that the USF game, the first game that Jaren Hall started in, was not a very fair game to judge. After all, Hall was given essentially less than a week to get used to being the starter and it didn’t help that the Cougars had to travel to South Florida less than a week after traveling back from Toledo (Ohio). In other words, Jaren Hall was put into a really tough spot.
Total Dominance from the Start
When the Cougars arrived in Logan, BYU Football was 3-4 going against a 4-3 Utah State team that featured quarterback Jordan Love. The Aggies actually entered the game as a three point favorite and it felt like if the Cougars didn’t get a win here they may miss a bowl game for the second time in three years.
Instead we got an absolute dominant half by Jaren Hall.
The first drive of the game saw the Cougars drive 93 yards (103 yards with two false starts) with Hall throwing 4/6 for 88 yards. His completions were 28 yards, 15 yards, 25 yards and 25 yards. He also had three plays that he had to leave the pocket completing two throws on the run and avoiding an eight yard sack for a one yard gain.
Rest of the Half
For the rest of the half Hall completed 8/11 passes for 126 yards and rushed for 53 yards on six rushes including two touchdowns. Hall was never sacked and never was tackled behind the line of scrimmage. I counted in total nine times that Hall had to move in the pocket/scramble but he always kept his eyes down the field. Every time Hall ran or decided to throw it seemed positive things happened.
There was one play in particular that really stuck out to me and convinced me Hall is the guy. With 6:03 left in the 2nd quarter Hall stuck in the pocket and went through his progressions and threw to his fourth read. The play only went for 13 yards which on the surface sounds good but not great, but it was the pocket presence and patience that stuck out to me.
Most quarterbacks, especially ones that know they are mobile will bail and scramble if the first and second reads are covered. Hall showed that even though he was inexperienced, mobile and had a pocket closing in, he had the ability to extend the play aside from his legs.
I am still concerned about Jaren Hall’s injury past and his concussion against Utah State. While Hall was hit hard on his way to the endzone at the end of the second quarter, it didn’t appear to be the kind of hit that would normally warrant a concussion.
But injury history shouldn’t effect whether a player gets to play or not if they are the best suited to play. Doing so would send a bad message to the team. At the same time, the coaching staff can’t be naïve to his past and should prepare the backup with more snaps than what they would normally get in practice.
I can make a long list of players who had injury issues that went on to have great careers including Taysom Hill, Kyle Collinsworth and Jamaal Williams. If Hall can be protected and limit his contact while running, I am now 100% convinced that he can lead the Cougars to a great year.