Chris Hall: Musical chairs
For most athletes who grow up playing the game of football, learning and mastering one position is enough. Two would be even more difficult. But for sophomore offensive guard Chris Hall, learning two positions was just the beginning.
Upon arriving on the campus of The University of Texas, all offensive linemen are asked to at least have a feel for all the positions on the line, but very rarely do they end up needing to act on it in a game. However, that's precisely what Hall has done.
"Originally, coming in as a freshman, I didn't know I would be playing so many positions," stated Hall. "But [offensive line] coach [Mac] McWhorter has done a great job and the guys I play next to have done a great job helping me out, so all the credit goes to them."
For Hall, who sees himself as a student of the game, the experience has been a learning endeavor and not a burden.
"It's just been a blast, and anywhere I can help the team is great," said Hall. "It's a little different playing multiple positions, but one of the great advantages of getting to play some different positions is that I feel like it really gives you a bigger perspective of what the offense is doing."
While some might be intimidated by having to learn so many different positions for the numerous amount of plays, Hall does not seem bothered by taking on such a feat. As a two-time member of UT's Athletics Director's Honor Roll and garnering second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors last season, absorbing a lot of information was nothing new for Hall.
"It's really not that bad, especially when I have the coaches around me like I do," explained Hall. "And with all the veterans on the team, my job gets easier. It's really not as hard as it seems because I have such great people around me."
During the second game of the season against No. 19 TCU, offensive tackle Adam Ulatoski sustained an injury in the first half, and Hall was called upon to fill in for the injured sophomore. He would end up playing four of the five positions on the offensive line that Saturday night.
Needless to say, head coach Mack Brown was more than impressed.
"Chris Hall did an amazing thing," Brown said. "He played every position up front in the offensive line except left tackle, which is just amazing. He hadn't even practiced much at tackle and when Adam Ulatoski got hurt. Chris stepped up and did a great job against the really good defensive ends at TCU."
Brown was not the only one that took note of Hall's achievement. Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter was equally impressed.
"In my 33 years of coaching, I've never had a player play both guards, center, and one of the tackle positions all in the same game," described McWhorter. "What you try to do is to teach your offensive lineman what everyone else does conceptually, so you create interchangeable parts on the line. Chris did an exceptional job of doing that."
With the ability to play several different positions, Hall's versatility has caught the attention of the coaches, as well as his teammates.
"It's great what Chris has been able to do for us," said senior OT Tony Hills, who fills the only spot Hall has not played at left tackle. "It really shows his dedication to the team to play all four of those positions the way he did. He just did what he was asked to do and stepped up when he was needed."
But with a humble personality, Hall smiles and laughs about his achievements, thanking his coaches and peers around him for helping him reach the point he is at today.
"Hopefully I can pass some sort of experience down to the younger guys, but to be honest, I don't have a whole lot of that just yet," said Hall with a big laugh. "Whatever I can help out with on the team, I will do that."