Max Hall has quite an impressive résumé.
The only problem is it hasn't been updated since 2004.
|Max Hall impressed coaches with his play in preseason scrimmages. (Provided to SportsLine)|
"I say 'So what?'" joked Hall. "I'm preparing myself every day. I'm going to be ready to play and our team is going to be ready to play. After the first play it's going to be all over and I'm going to be fine. Things are going to be normal, I'll take a deep breath and it will be fine. I have to get used to the speed a little bit, but after the first play or two, I'll be just fine."
Hall was highly recruited out of Mountain View High School in Mesa, Ariz. -- coincidently the same school as Beck. Hall threw for 2,405 and 35 touchdowns as a senior and 2,384 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior. He decided to stay close to home, choosing Arizona State over BYU, Northwestern, Utah and Washington State.
He ended up in a crowded backfield with the Sun Devils, redshirting along with fellow freshman Rudy Carpenter. Andrew Walter was the starter for his senior season, while Sam Keller was the backup.
Hall ended up sitting out 2005 too, serving a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Des Moines, Iowa.
"Coming home off a mission, I was looking for a change," said Hall. "BYU was interested in me in high school. Once I came down and visited and saw what was going on and what (coach Bronco) Mendenhall was doing with the program, it was a no-brainer."
|1. Texas Christian|
|2. Brigham Young|
|4. New Mexico|
|6. Colorado State|
|7. Air Force|
|9. San Diego State|
|Team to beat:|
|Rodney Ferguson, New Mexico|
|Tommy Blake, TCU|
|Coach of the year:|
|Gary Patterson, TCU|
Keller ended up winning the starting job at Arizona State, then losing it to Carpenter. Keller wasn't happy with the situation and ended up transferring to Nebraska. But that's not the same reason Hall left.
"It wasn't working out for me there -- that's the bottom line," added Hall. "Competition or me competing for a job had nothing to do with it. The atmosphere and the way the program was, I wanted to look at BYU."
Hall came in and was supposed to battle junior college transfer Cade Cooper for the starting job, but with Cooper sustaining a season-ending foot injury combined with Hall's 15-of-19, 139-yard performance during the Blue-White scrimmage, Hall was named the starter.
"As soon as Hall was named the official QB coming into fall camp, he took ownership of the offense," said wide receiver Matt Allen at MWC Media Day. "This is his offense -- he knows it, we know it and I think we are headed into the right direction. We have a lot of confidence in him."
Hall's "fake" games continue to be impressive. Two weeks ago, Hall was 10-of-12 for 130 yards with zero interceptions and two touchdowns -- a 30-yarder to Austin Collie and a 50-yarder to Bryce Mahuika. During another scrimmage last weekend, Hall completed 10-of-13 for 123 yards.
But all the scrimmages will be ten times different than Hall's first real game, the season opener vs. Arizona on Sept. 1.
"I've been waiting to start in a Division I football game for a long time," added Hall. "I'm trying as hard as I can to prepare myself and I think about it every day."
Rodney Ferguson, New Mexico: The junior led the Mountain West in rushing last season, gaining 1,309 yards with seven touchdowns. After closing out last season with 450 yards rushing in his final three games, Ferguson is primed for a monster season. He rushed for 138 yards against BYU, 210 against San Diego State and then had 102 yards against San Jose State in the New Mexico Bowl.
|TCU defensive lineman Tommy Blake is on a number of preseason award lists. (Getty Images)|
Predicted order of finish
1. TCU: With one of the best defenses in the nation, led by Blake and Chase Ortiz, the Horned Frogs are the favorite to claim the MWC. RB Aaron Brown also returns on offense after leading the team with 801 rushing yards. The chase for a BCS bowl begins and ends Sept. 8 at Texas.
2. BYU: It will be hard to duplicate last season's 8-0 conference record, but with four starters back on the offensive line and a solid running game with Fui Vakapuna and Manase Tonga, the Cougars will be just fine. Bryan Kehl is back at linebacker, where he recorded 70 tackles and three sacks.
3. Utah: QB Brian Johnson returns after missing last season with a knee injury that will make Utah an automatic contender. Johnson guided an offense that averaged 473 yards and 30 points a game in 2005. The defense won't be as good as last season, but the secondary should be strong with safety Steve Tate and junior Brice McCain.
4. New Mexico: With eight starters back on offense and 10 on defense, the Lobos could make waves in the conference and grab one of the four bowl bids up for grabs. Ferguson is the workhorse, but watch out for WR Travis Brown, who finished third in the conference with a career-high 867 receiving yards
5. Wyoming: After opening the season at 1-4, the Cowboys finished 5-2 with quarterback Karsten Sween. He completed 60 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and looks to improve on that mark with a full season under center. LB Ward Dobbs leads the defense.
6. Colorado State: After going 4-8 and 1-7 in conference play, Sonny Lubick looks to turn things around. Kyle Bell is back after rushing for nearly 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2005 and sitting out the entire season in 2006. Nine starters are back on defense, led by linebacker Jeff Horinek.
7. Air Force: Former Falcons QB Troy Calhoun, who was the Houston Texans' offensive coordinator last year, takes over for Fisher DeBerry. He'll have a solid running game, led by Chad Hall, who had 784 yards on the ground last year. Defensive leader Drew Fowler returns at linebacker.
|2007 Conference Previews|
|Sun Belt||Big 12|
8. UNLV: Things can't get any worse for the Rebels, who have won just four games, including two in the conference, the past two seasons. Former USC QB Rocky Hinds continues to have problems with his knee, so freshman dual-threat QB Travis Dixon has been named the starter. WR Ryan Wolfe, who set a MWC freshman record in receiving yards, will make things easy on Dixon.
9. San Diego State: After QB Kevin O'Connell injured his thumb in last year's season opener, the Aztecs stumbled to a 3-9 record. A healthy O'Connell could mean a world of difference in 2007. The offensive line will be key, along with running back Atiyyah Henderson, who had 764 yards rushing, but just one TD.