While at BYU, Max Hall produced a 32-7 record over a three-year period, and set or matched various BYU and MWC records. Now with the Arizona Cardinals, Hall indicated that the Cougar program is in great hands and the winning tradition he was a part of will continue.
"I think [the BYU program] will be just fine," Hall said. "They have a staff of really good coaches, and I think Coach Mendenhall does a really, really good job of preparing our guys there. Everybody didn't know what was going to happen when John Beck, Jonny Harline and Curtis Brown all left, but we had guys step up in Dennis [Pitta], Harvey [Unga], Austin [Collie] and myself.
"That's something that happens every year and I'm confident that the program will continue developing those guys to continue the trend. Whether it's the receivers, the quarterbacks, running backs or the defensive guys, somebody will step up. That's the great thing about college football. When the seniors leave it gives somebody else the opportunity to make the team theirs. I'm excited to see what happens. I'm confident that things will come together and this new BYU team will be an exciting team to watch this year."
Several different quarterbacks battled this past spring camp to become the player that replaces Hall out on the field this coming season.
"I was able to go to a couple of practices and thought they looked pretty good," Hall said. "Obviously, I think the quarterbacks still have a ways to go and a lot of things to learn, but that's just part of it. I had a long ways to go when I first became a part of it.
"I remember my first start. I was more worried about fumbling the snap than what the defense was doing. I'm dead serious. I was so nervous and ready to throw up running out of the tunnel and didn't want to fumble the snap and make a fool out of myself. That just comes with it, and with more experience the team is going to get better. I'm sure they're going to give those quarterbacks some live reps in fall camp and before the season starts, and they should be ready to go."
As a successful Cougar quarterback, Hall gained a lot of experiences through the wide range of circumstances he was placed in. Having been at one time the new guy on the team, he had some advice for the younger guys working their way into a starting position.
"Right now they're just worried about being the best guy on the team," Hall said. "They just have to be confident in themselves and not worry about it. They can't change who they are or what they do, and just need to go out there and be themselves and execute the offense as best they can. Then whoever becomes the starting quarterback, the coaches will mold the offense to fit their strengths.
"The offense that I ran was a little different than the offense that John Beck ran, and the offense that might come out of the next group of guys might be a little different than the offense I ran. That's just how it is. The coaches will modify and tweak things that will fit Riley Nelson's strengths or Jake Heap's or James Lark's strengths.
"That's just how it is every year. Those guys just got to know that and build confidence in themselves and trust in their teammates and they'll be fine. They have enough talented players around them to help them out, and they have a talented receiving corps that's coming back. They're a group of guys that can make plays for them, and they just have to learn how to run the offense and they'll be fine."
In looking back over his experience at BYU, Hall said his time at BYU molded and shaped him in many ways.
"BYU gives you all the tools and gives you all things you need to excel in every aspect: academically, spiritually, socially, athletically and on the football field," Hall said. "If you just take advantage of it, you can walk away from BYU a much better [person] character-wise and a much better football player, and that's what I tried to do. In my schoolwork, I tried to work as hard as I could. Spiritually, I tried to grow and attend as many things as I could. Church-wise, I spoke at a lot of devotionals and was able to reach out to the community in that aspect.
"The experience really just makes you develop into a man by taking on those responsibilities, so BYU has given me a lot more than I could ever give back to it. It surrounded me with a lot of great people and a lot of great men, Coach Mendenhall to start and then my quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman as another example of how great men did great things for me while I was there.
"I came in there as a hot-headed, feisty, not-really-knowing-what-I-was-doing kind of guy, and they shaped me into a real leader on that football team. And it didn't just stop with being shaped as a leader and good football player on the team; they molded me with other aspects of my life away from football. It's just really amazing and I'm really excited for all of these young guys on the team right now, knowing what they'll be experiencing over the next couple of years.”
Now, Hall is adjusting to and getting acclimated to the NFL.
"I think the similarities between first going to BYU and the situation that I'm in right now is I'm coming to a new team where at first you don't really know a lot of the guys and you're learning a new offense," said Hall. "You have to kind of meet guys and kind of become friends and build relationships. I thought that was going to be different in the NFL, but really it's been similar. I feel the coaches treat you really good and the players all help each other out. I thought there would be a lot more separation with all that at this level, but really it's been a lot like college. We're a team and we all work really hard together and it's been really refreshing to know that this is still how it is in the NFL."
Currently competing for a spot on the Cardinal roster, Hall credits his chance of doing so to his experience as a quarterback at BYU.
"Football-wise, BYU helped prepare me for the NFL experience in many ways," Hall said. "They develop you and give you so much freedom as a quarterback at BYU to call what you want and to make changes and to really run and lead the team. I think that process has really prepared me for the future and the NFL. Already the coaches here for the Cardinals have noticed that about me and like it. That's one reason why they feel I have a chance to make the roster and help them in the future, so, man, BYU was a great choice and really did a ton for me."