PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It’s still unknown if this will be Jaren Hall’s last game at BYU. But the Cougars are planning on Hall taking the field against SMU in the New Mexico Bowl December 17th.
Hall injured his ankle in the regular season finale against Stanford, but is hoping to play in the bowl game.
“Yeah, Jaren is banged up,” Sitake said. “He’s not out of the game, so once we know more, we’ll let you guys know. Right now, the guys getting the reps are Cade Fennegan, Nick Billoups and Sol-Jay Maiava. Those guys will compete, but I like what all of those guys have done in the practices that we’ve had.”
Hall did not play because of injury in last year’s Independence Bowl, a 31-28 loss to UAB.
There is still no word yet on whether Hall will be coming back next year or if he will enter the NFL Draft.
“He’s taking in all the information with the decision making,” Sitake said. “He and his wife will make the right decision for their family.”
With defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki stepping down last week, Sitake has taken over the defense for now himself.
“If it’s a good play, then I called it,” Sitake joked. “If it’s a bad one, then it was one of the other guys.We’re working on filling out our staff. This is the time of year where there is a lot of movement in the world of football and coaching. So, we’ll adjust.”
It’s also the time of year for the transfer portal. Backup quarterback Jacob Conover is one of four BYU players that have entered the portal so far.
“I had really good conversations with Conover especially,” Sitake said. “I hope those guys get what they’re looking for. I want to be one of those guys that is always going to mentor the young men, and sometimes leaving is the best option.”
As for SMU, the Mustangs have a high-powered offense led by quarterback Tanner Mordecai, who has thrown for 3,306 yards and 31 touchdowns this season. SMU put up 77 points against Houston this season, so the Cougars could have a shootout on their hands.
“They are explosive all over the place,” Sitake said. “I’m a defensive guy, so I always go look right at the offense, and the fact that they’ve scored 77 points in a game is scary. It’s a tough task for our defense, but we’re looking forward to the matchup.”
BYU and SMU will play in the New Mexico Bowl Saturday, December 17th at 5:30 p.m. on ABC4.