BYU Football fans are expecting a big season from Jaren Hall as he enters his second season as the starter.
Injuries have plagued BYU Football quarterbacks since the Cougars went Independent. Riley Nelson, Taysom Hill, Tanner Mangum, Zach Wilson, Beau Hoge, Baylor Romney and Jaren Hall have all had to miss games because of being injuries (and I’m sure I’m missing some).
During this span, the good news has always been that the backup quarterback was generally really good. The jury is still not out about Jacob Conover quite yet which makes keeping Jaren Hall healthy a top priority.
But will that change the kind of playstyle that Hall will be allowed to play?
Last year, the Cougars had a sure backup in Baylor Romney. Romney was the definition of the ideal backup quarterback. He was accurate, smart and took care of the ball. While he wasn’t the most flashy quarterback, he was able to win games.
Without that definitive security blanket, one has to wonder if the coaching staff is going to allow Hall to play like he did against Utah (eight rushes, 92 yards) or Boise State (one rush attempt, -3 yards). While arguably a better passer than Taysom Hill, Hall like Hill plays best when he knows that he have the green light to scramble.
Just look at the two games that Hall struggled the most in; USC and Boise State. In those two games, Hall averaged 61% completion and had a combined three interceptions (out of only six thrown all season). In those two games, Hall combined for only 23 rushing yards. Watching the games again, it was clear that Hall (although hurt) was almost forcing himself to stay in the pocket.
Hall is a dual threat and the coaches need to let him play. While this will increase the chance of injury, it would be better to play at 100% and get some good wins than play at 85% and perhaps lose a game or two that could have been won. Knowing Coach Sitake however, he hasn’t shied away from letting players play their style, even with an injury history.
Sure, there are some precautions that the coaches can make such as having Hall slide or go out of bounds when possible, but limiting his playstyle will hurt more than any injury likely would assuming that Jacob Conover is a good player as well.
So with all of that, we should expect Jaren Hall to be a loose but smarter player this year. This means that most of Hall’s runs will come off of scrambles opposed to draws and we will likely see more sliding than diving/taking hits. With such a strong offensive line, I really believe that it can be possible to get Hall through a season without being injured again.