New Mexico

BYU football: Evidence mounts that Jaren Hall will miss New Mexico Bowl

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — BYU football coach Kalani Sitake conceded Wednesday night for the first time in weeks that it is highly unlikely that Cougars starting quarterback Jaren Hall will play Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl.

After arriving in Albuquerque on two charter flights from Provo on Wednesday afternoon, the Cougars attended a welcome dinner at The Main Event amusement center and Sitake spoke briefly with reporters.

When asked by Deseret News if there was a chance Hall would play against 7-5 SMU at University Stadium (5:30 p.m. ABC), Sitake spoke as if he had apparently given up all hope that the junior would be in the fifth year after spraining his right ankle in the Nov. 26 game at Stanford.

“I think the closer we get to the game, the harder it’s going to be for me to say yes,” Sitake said. “…We thought on Monday when I spoke to you guys at the press conference, we thought there was a chance. … But it looks more like (Hall) isn’t close to performing.”

Hall accompanied the team to Albuquerque but was seen with a protective boot on his right foot. Other times he was on a scooter.

Multiple sources have said that Cade Fennegan, a freshman from Dallas, will be the starting quarterback if Hall is unable to leave.

After BYU practiced in Provo Tuesday afternoon, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said Hall took a step back in the recovery process on Tuesday.

“Yesterday (Monday) I thought he had a great chance to play,” said Roderick. “Today (Tuesday) I would say his chances are not quite as good as I had hoped but there is still a chance.”

When asked about the other quarterbacks in the room after backup Jacob Conover entered the transfer portal and signed to Arizona State a few weeks ago, Roderick said Fennegan, Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters and Nick Billoups all got replays and the coaches ” that settled.”

“Cade has also struggled with an injury that happened in a practice session a while back,” Roderick said. “But he’s practicing and he’s healthy now. I’m just missing the free time (reset it). We’re just getting it running again.”

Roderick said who plays when Hall can’t walk is determined by a myriad of things.

“Only those who can lead the team lead our offense,” he said. “There’s a lot to it. It’s about getting everyone in line, it’s the cadence, it’s the different tempos we use, it makes sure everyone is where everyone is supposed to be, remembering a shift or a move and the number of hits.

“All these guys are talented,” he continued. “They are all good enough to win. It’s about who can work efficiently with our offensive and with our team.”

On Wednesday, Sitake said the team is almost ready to play in the program’s 40th bowl game.

“There’s excitement, there’s energy. They’re ready to play,” Sitake said. “We know SMU will be ready to play. That’s what preparing for bowl season and preparing to play this game is all about. So it will be a lot of fun.”

The Cougars will practice Thursday morning at the University of New Mexico practice field adjacent to University Stadium in what will be their last full practice of the season. They will take a tour on Friday to make final preparations for the showdown with the Mustangs, who are also 7-5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button