The last hurrah for Max Hall in a Cougar uniform this season reflects positive traits this August.
His confidence has never been an issue. He still believes he can make every play in the book, even those that crack apart shortly after the ball is snapped. Hall is as positive as a potion salesman. He's worked long and hard since the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. He believes in his weapons and he stands up for a young offensive line that holds his health in their collective paws.
On Wednesday, Hall had perhaps his best practice, driving the offense on a long-sustained scoring drive without even tossing a pass to talented sophomore McKay Jacobson. Thing is, Jacobson is a go-to guy and, with the secondary shading the speedy Texan, Hall spread it around.
That morning, Hall completed the "team segment" with 12-for-15 for 156 yards and a TD to Dennis Pitta. In the afternoon, he went 5-of-10 for 82 yards and another touchdown pass.
He knows he's got one of the top tight ends and running backs in BYU history in Pitta and Harvey Unga, respectively. He's getting acquainted with how to lead a speed receiver like Jacobson, an adjustment Matt Berry and John Beck needed to make when Todd Watkins was in town.
For Hall, this is his last chance. The nephew of Dallas Cowboy great Danny White, he's got the gene that clicks on when competition is called for. He's wired to win and he's done a lot of it in Provo and back in Mesa's Mountain View High. The NFL may or may not call his name, but he isn't letting that thought detract from his game.
He's got talent. He has a decent arm. His timing can be impeccable at times. He reads defenses and is fearless at standing in the pocket and firing the ball, or waiting for a pattern to develop. At times, this gutsy trait is almost a fault.
Some folks wonder if all those interceptions against Utah left a scar on Hall. They don't know the guy — it only made him angry and more determined.
So far this fall camp, Hall has completed 146-of-193 passes for 75.6 percent. He's thrown for 1,726 yards, 16 touchdowns with 2 interceptions. Granted, some early whistles protect him from sacks, but they've also taken away some completions. And it's practice.
Still, those numbers are impressive. They are as good as he's done as a Cougar in fall camps. His pass efficiency in 11-on-11 drills is 176.05. In other words, he's performing like a BYU senior quarterback who knows what he's doing.
Hall's trying to work down his progressions, avoid locking in. He knows he has to see the left side of the field and make defenders respect all his choices. Austin Collie, his Siamese twin, is gone, taking his NCAA No. 1 receiver statistics with him to the Indianapolis Colts. Now Hall's serving area is expected to be more wide open.
This summer, Hall deployed the entire squad for informal throwing sessions and, for the first time in his career, most of the team met and had informal coachless practices in which he could polish his game.
Hall's quarterback coach, Brandon Doman, deploys a personality just like that of Hall. They speak and can finish sentences for one another. Doman, a rah-rah guy, used to walk the sidelines when he started for the Cougars and tell everyone they were going to win — and he was right 12 times in 2001.
This season, Doman will come out of the booth and onto the sideline and look Hall in the eye and talk shop in the heat of battle.
That isn't a tiny adjustment. It is an important piece of furniture in Hall's world, a spare set of arrows in his quiver. It will be like having another player in the living room with a second game controller, a place the spirit of the game can meld or merge or clone.
He hasn't had that on BYU's sidelines before.
"I like it," he said. "Coach Doman's able to keep me within the QB protocol and keep me focused. He's also a good motivator for our team. He can get guys fired up and get them going on the sidelines. I think the guys really respond to him.
"It gives Coach Anae a chance to just kind of play the chess match up in the box and for Coach Doman to be down on the field with us, and coach me, while I'm playing and remind me of certain things when he calls the play and make sure we're all on the same page."
It's Hall's last run in Provo.
While it's tough to predict how the numbers will roll, especially the wins and losses, for those who are breaking down everything he does, at the midway point this August, the guy appears fully on track.
Max Hall Fall Camp Stats
Date . . . Comp-Att . . . Yards . . . TD . . . INT
8-8 . . . 9-10 . . . 83 . . . 0 . . . 0
8-10 . . . 10-15 . . . 143 . . . 3 . . . 0
8-11 . . . 16-23 . . . 228 . . . 2 . . . 0
8-12 . . . 12-14 . . . 147 . . . 2 . . . 0
8-13 . . . 15-17 . . . 98 . . . 0 . . . 0
8-14 . . . 6-9 . . . 86 . . . 1 . . . 0
8-14 . . . 6-8 . . . 117 . . . 1 . . . 0
8-15 . . . 18-21 . . . 189 . . . 1 . . . 0
8-17 . . . 7-12 . . . 78 . . . 1 . . . 2
8-17 . . . 11-13 . . . 123 . . . 1 . . . 0
8-18 . . . 19-26 . . . 196 . . . 2 . . . 0
8-19 . . . 12-15 . . . 156 . . . 1 . . . 0
8-19 . . . 5-10 . . . 82 . . . 1 . . . 0
Totals . . . 146-193 . . . 1,726 . . . 16 . . . 2
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