PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – For a guy who hasn’t played in a game since November of 2019, Jaren Hall was happy just to be practicing again.
“I feel good,” the BYU quarterback said after the first spring practice. “I’m out there playing, throwing the ball. So I just feel blessed, and there’s not much more I can ask for.”
Hall has recovered from a lower body injury that forced him to miss the entire 2020 season. He is competing with Baylor Romney, Jacob Conover and Sol-Jay Maiava for the starting job this season.
“It’s a group of studs,” Hall said about the quarterbacks. “It’s going to be a fun competition from the 15 practices we have each and every day. So, I’m just excited to be here with the good guys that we have to push each other and get better.”
Hall says he isn’t worried about winning the job just yet, especially since it’s not his decision.
“I have no expectations,” he said. “I just try to go out and control what I can. So at the end of the day it’s not something I decide. That’s for the coaches to do, and rightfully so. We just go out and compete, do our best and when that time comes for them to make that decision, then they will.”
Hall showed glimpses of his accuracy and athleticism in limited playing time in 2019 when Zach Wilson went down with a thumb injury. Hall, who became the first African-American to start at quarterback in BYU history, threw for 420 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes, while rushing for 139 yards and three touchdowns before suffering concussions that ended his season prematurely.
But Hall said he first wants to be known as a passer rather than duel-threat quarterback.
“Just doing what quarterbacks do, and that’s dropping back and throwing the ball,” Hall said. “That’s what I’ve lived for growing up. I throw the ball first, and after that point, do whatever you have to do to make plays.
Watching from the sideline as Zach Wilson had a historic season last year, helped Hall learn more about the game.
“My main goal was just to stay involved and not disconnect my self from the team,” Hall said. “Be there to help wherever I can, whether it was on the sideline, in practice, whatever I’ve got to do. Then continue to get mental reps and and get better.”
“Even though he wasn’t able to participate on the field, I saw a huge jump in his learning the game,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “He loves the game and knows it a lot. Maybe it’s just finding the little intricacies and learning from a different perspective like a coach looks at. I think that’s going to be really helpful for him.”
Hall has also decided not to play baseball for BYU this season and concentrate solely on football.
“I just want to try to get my body the most rest I can,” he explained. “It’s a long process and it’s a long season when you don’t have an off-season. So it’s mainly just to get healthy.”
Hall and the Cougars will continue spring practice this week.