BYU football: All eyes on QB Jaren Hall as Cougars open preseason camp

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall says he has no goals or checklists for himself in what will almost certainly be his final season in Cougar Blue before pursuing his dream of playing in the League national football.

His expectations for the team as a whole? Now that’s another story.

“I think the sky’s the limit,” Hall said Thursday after BYU recorded their first practice of the 2022 preseason training camp. “We have the potential to have a really good season, as a crew.”

Showing more personality and enthusiasm than perhaps at any time in his five years at Provo, a relaxed and confident Hall circled reporters in the 95-degree heat at the open-air training facility air and joked about everything from his golf game giving coach and recent fourth dad Kalani Sitake advice on childcare, to his decision to wear a long-sleeved undershirt in practice for hide his muscular arms.

“I believe the sky is the limit. We have the potential to have a very good season as a team. – BYU quarterback Jaren Hall

Of course, Hall isn’t just the undisputed starting quarterback in 2022, he’s also the face of the program, the leader, and the alpha dog among the players. Last August, when he was locked in a battle to start with four-star prospects Jacob Conover and Baylor Romney, he wasn’t as relaxed and easy-going as he was on Thursday.

It’s his team, and he knows it, even if he’s too humble and self-deprecating to put it outright.

“Just another year of experience under my belt, that’s all,” he said, when asked if this year’s camp was different knowing he was the man. “Just a little more confidence. The game is a bit slower. I understand things a little better. I just try to keep everything simple as always.

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Praised for the quality of the passing game in the roughly 20 minutes of training the media were allowed to see on Thursday, Hall put the glory on others.

“Our O-line (stands out),” he said. “And how clean the pocket is, how well we handled the ball today. We don’t even have pads, but they are moving guys. It’s no secret (the O-line) is the strength of our team, as always.

In fact, one could argue that Hall is the strength of the team, having gone 8-2 as a starter last season in the 10 games he played, throwing for 2,583 yards and 20 touchdowns with only five interceptions. He became an NFL Draft prospect, another reason why this season is almost certainly his last, even though he technically has two years of eligibility left.

Hall said he and top three receivers Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney and Keanu Hill are already in sync, having spent countless hours this offseason honing that chemistry, on top of what they accomplished last year. . Now it’s about putting other receivers like Kody Epps, Chase Roberts, Terence Fall and Brayden Cosper on the same page.

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BYU starting quarterback Jaren Hall hustle — in jersey, shorts and helmet — during the first practice of training camp on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Provo.

“Spring ball always seems a little more fluid from the start because it’s only two months (after the season),” he said. “But fall camp is four months, four and a half months after spring prom, so it’s a much longer break. Just finding your sync with receivers (is a priority). Today, with all the experienced guys we have, everyone was where they needed to be. Now it’s all about doing everything a little faster, just getting everything in sync.

Sitake said Hall looks “a lot more comfortable this year” because he’s focused entirely on improving offense and not winning a quarterback derby. He said offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick did a masterful job bringing Hall in, much like Roderick did with Zach Wilson when he was the QB coach and Jeff Grimes was the CO in 2019 and 2020.

“I gave (Roderick) the opportunity to just teach him and lay out the standards he has for him and the expectations he had for him to accomplish this summer,” Sitake said. “And he did. We’ll see what happens at fall camp. On day one, Jaren did a great job, as did the other quarterbacks when they were on the field.

Romney said he’s worked with Hall all offseason, almost since the day he decided to return for a final season. Training camp will be used to refine specific game concepts and what will work against specific defenses, Romney said.

Has Hall added anything new to his repertoire?

“I mean no. It’s Jaren. We know what to expect from him. He’s a baller,” Romney said. with the 11 v 11 (sessions) I’m excited to see him play in a full match again.

Hall said he gained “maybe five pounds” of weight in the offseason and feels “really good” with where he is physically right now after missing the bowling game due to an ankle injury.

Obviously, he knows he has to take a lot of precautions to stay healthy this season, after failing to complete the 2019 and 2021 seasons due to concussions in 2019 and the above in 2021. He spent the whole 2020 season when Wilson was rising to stardom with a hip injury.

“I just have to get the ball out a lot quicker and figure out what’s going on,” Hall said. “You can prepare your body, eat well and sleep well. But at the end of the day, if you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t protect yourself, so you have to be mentally locked in and know the game better than anyone.

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