By Jay Zwahlen
The debate is over: Max Hall will be BYU”s starting quarterback for the fall 2007 season.
Hall, a transfer from Arizona State, competed with Cade Cooper during spring practice for the starting spot, but Hall distanced himself from Cooper as the spring came to a close.
“It wasn”t until last week that I felt like Max started to edge forward in terms of moving the team and putting the offense in the end zone at a higher level,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
Early in the Blue-White game Saturday, Cooper went down with a severe ankle injury. He underwent surgery on his ankle Monday and is expected to miss six to nine months.
“I”m heartbroken for Cade,” Mendenhall said. “I respect and admire his competitive spirit, how he worked all spring and how he performed.”
Cooper, who came to BYU without a scholarship, transferred from Snow College and will now be forced to redshirt next season. He will then have two years of eligibility to finish off his career at BYU.
Mendenhall said the timing of Cooper”s injury and the announcement of the starting quarterback was merely coincidental.
“The decision would have remained the same regardless of injury,” Mendenhall said. “What might be perceived as the easy announcement now by default was really in place and was going to happen whether Cade was healthy or not.”
Hall grinned when asked how he felt to be a quarterback at BYU, considering the rich tradition that exists at the position.
“I”m excited, and being named the quarterback here at BYU is an amazing blessing for me,” Hall said. “It”s something I”ve dreamed of my whole life.”
The Blue-White game solidified the starting spot for Hall. He threw for 139 yards and completed 15 of 19 passes.
“Things started clicking for me, I started feeling comfortable and things started slowing down,” Hall said of the last couple weeks of spring practice. “I started feeling a lot more confident in what I was doing. Things worked out well for me and I”m looking forward to be a leader of this team.”
Hall was notified in a meeting with Mendenhall, offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman.
“They told me that they”re really excited about our football team and I think we”re going to do real well come fall,” Hall said.