You hear it every week from broadcasters and national pundits across the country.
“Jaren Hall is sensational.”
“Jaren Hall is one of the top quarterbacks in the country.”
“Jaren Hall is a future NFL quarterback.”
One of the very best players in college football.
One of the very best people in college football.
Don’t wait until the draft process begins to learn about why this man will be playing on Sundays in the #NFL
Thursday Night 8PM ET on #ESPN… see for yourself. https://t.co/KZWXmnqFGu
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) September 26, 2022
Coming into Saturday’s showdown against Notre Dame, Hall — the 6-foot-1, 205 pound junior — had backed it up as he had thrown for more than 250 yards in 11 of his last 12 games to go with 12 touchdowns to just one interception.
So with the game on the line Saturday night against Notre Dame, what did BYU’s coaching staff do? Yup, you guessed it, they took the ball out of Hall’s hands.
Nope, you read that right.
Hall, a future NFL quarterback — currently a Top 10 QB in many rankings and mock drafts — handed the ball off four consecutive times as the Cougars lost 28-20 to the Irish at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
In the words of Ricky Ricardo, Kalani, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.
Hall attempted only 17 passes on the night — a season low. The last time Hall threw less than 20 passes was back in 2019.
Something doesn’t add up.
Was it because Hall was hurt?
Hall’s first pass of the game against the Irish was intercepted and well underthrown as he tried to hit Gunner Romney down the sideline.
With rumors earlier that week that Hall injured his shoulder, the junior quarterback put that to rest at the end of the game saying that he was fine.
“No, no, no,” he said in the postgame news conference, when asked if he felt limited against the Irish. “Contrary to popular belief, no shoulder injury. I feel good.”
Head coach Kalani Sitake said he didn’t think Hall was 100% but it was still the best option to play him.
“I think he was banged up,” he said. “We need to go back and figure out what our game plan was and see what we can do (better). I thought he made some really good throws, especially in the second half.”
Hall played much better in the second half, completing 6 of his 9 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Whatever happened at halftime seemed to spark Hall and the offense and the Cougars were able to drive down the field consistently in the second half.
Yet with Hall having a lot of success in the air in the second half, the play calling near the end — four straight runs and taking the ball out of Hall’s hands — was mind boggling.
If Hall is good enough to be in the game — and he was playing well — the talented quarterback needs to have the ball in his hands. Having a run/pass option is better than simply running up the middle and hoping for a different result.
What made things worse is the coaches took Christopher Brooks out of the game. The Cal transfer was having a solid game, yet was benched in favor of Lopini Katoa — the third string running back.
No offense to Katoa, however, Hall is a future NFL quarterback — and with his skillset and dual-threat capabilities — there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
If Saturdays’ game against Arkansas comes down to the wire, Cougar Nation better hope BYU’s coaching staff learned their lesson and let’s Hall go out and make a play.