Max Hall can’t seem to win. He draws the ire of fans when he plays aggressively — risking interceptions by trying to make big plays. He also gets showered with criticism when he tries to protect the ball like he did against Utah — missing receivers by two or three yards on the safe side or tucking the ball to run at the first hint of pressure.
His up-and-down year got me thinking: which quarterback should we expect to see tonight? Will it be the gun slinging risk-taker that fans love to hate, or will it be the conservative, ball-security-first signal-caller that fans might hate to love?
BYU quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman said that the criticism hasn’t affected Max’s game and that he should come out firing in the Las Vegas Bowl.
“It’s the nature of the beast. You’re a quarterback, so you’re going to take criticism no matter what and that’s part of the deal. Max recognizes that,” Doman said. “I don’t think there’s anything for him to be concerned about in this game. The regular season is over. He’s played his three seasons. The championships and rivalries have come and gone and this bowl game is an opportunity for him to just go out and play and not worry about what anybody thinks. It’s a time for him to finish with the rest of the seniors, and he’s practicing as good as I’ve seen him practice his whole career. It’s probably because he’s more loose than he’s ever been, so I would expect him to play great in this game.”
While the Las Vegas Bowl hasn’t been kind to Hall and the Cougars — they won a nail-biter over and inferior UCLA team two years ago and got handled easily by Arizona last year — Hall says that he wants to end his BYU career in style.
“I have to be aggressive sometimes and I have to be passive sometimes, but I think I’ve figured out what works in certain situations as a senior,” Hall said. “The bottom line is that I am who I am, and I’m a competitive, aggressive guy when I need to be but I’ve also learned how to cool it out and be mellow when I need to. If my teammates know I’m there for them that’s all that matters. I feel like we’ve prepared really well as a team and that we’re going to come out and play better than we have the past few years,”