Provo • The lingering question over whether Jaren Hall played hurt last week finally received a definitive answer.
Not only did the quarterback play on an injured shoulder, but he also barely practiced in the week before the Notre Dame game. It led to Hall throwing for just 120 yards on 17 pass attempts as BYU lost 28-20.
“He was banged up from the Utah State game,” offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said. “He didn’t really practice at all last week. I thought in the game, it definitely wasn’t his best game. He played like a guy who didn’t practice.”
After the game, Hall’s status was put in question by dueling answers from head coach Kalani Sitake and Hall. Sitake said that Hall was injured but pushed through it to play against the Irish. Hall said he “felt great.”
But more clarity from both sides has painted a better picture of what happened in the week leading up to Notre Dame.
Normally, BYU has a strict rule against playing players who didn’t practice throughout the week. For Hall, though, the exception was made early on in the week that he would play regardless of his practice reps.
Hall said he prepared like he would play and “just [took] it day-by-day.”
“He was adamant about playing,” Roderick said. “It was sort of up to [the coaches] if we were willing to play him without practice reps. I think he’s done enough good things for our program that we gave it a shot.
“I trusted him to play without practicing, which is rare. You don’t do that very often in college football. Special case [with Hall] given how much he has played and how much he has meant to our team.”
Hall’s shoulder became a more immediate concern on the first two drives of the game. On his first pass attempt, the junior underthrew a ball by several yards and was intercepted. On his second throw, his pass landed 10 yards away from the nearest receiver. Roderick admitted it looked “bad.”
By halftime, Hall was 3 of 8 passing for 11 yards.
There were questions about putting in backup quarterback Jacob Conover. However, the offensive staff said it “never got to that point.”
In the second half, Hall’s shoulder started to look better as he threw for 109 yards on 6 of 9 passing. He made multiple throws to Kody Epps that kept BYU in the game as it rallied from a 19-point deficit.
Roderick did admit, though, that he changed his play calling to adjust to Hall’s shoulder injury. Hall had his fewest passing attempts since becoming the full-time starter last Saturday. It was also the first time Hall didn’t throw for over 250 yards dating back to 2021.
“It’s midseason, everybody is dinged up,” Hall said on Wednesday. “I was dinged up a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been battling through that.”
This week, Hall said he’s taken all the reps in practice and is feeling “better.” Roderick believes the plan is to start Hall again.
“He didn’t look great in that first half and he knows it,” Roderick said. “He has been very accountable to our team. But he did a lot of things in that second half that gave us a shot. He made some plays. Even if it wasn’t his best game, I thought he showed a lot of guts and leadership. I expect him to be a lot better this week.”