Hall has inside track on UNM's starting QB position - Albuquerque Journal

Hall has inside track on UNM’s starting QB position

UNM quarterback Trae Hall (10), shown in action last Nov. 30 against Utah State, leads the competition to be the starter in this season’s opener. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Trae Hall knows the situation at hand, and he wants to attack it with everything he has.

Just two weeks away from the University of New Mexico football team’s season opener at Colorado State, Hall has been taking the majority of the first-team snaps. When the Lobos go through an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, Hall, a redshirt sophomore from Henderson, Texas, will be the first QB to come out and direct the offense.

UNM first-year head coach Danny Gonzales has not named the starter for the opener. Tevaka Tuioti, a redshirt junior who has more experience than Hall, is also in the running to be the starter.

“It motivates me to push hard each and every day, and get better than I was yesterday,” Hall said of potentially becoming the Lobos’ starting quarterback. “I want to be able to give them a reason why they trust me and be able to become the starter.”

Hall started his first game for UNM in last year’s season finale when the Lobos lost to Utah State, 38-25, to close out a 2-10 season.

Hall led the team in rushing with 115 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. He also threw two touchdown passes. He completed 10 of his 21 passes for 107 yards to go with two interceptions.

“From that game I learned that you always have to be ready,” Hall said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the other QBs like Sheriron Jones, Brandt Hughes, Tevaka Tuioti.”

Gonzales came away impressed with Hall from what he saw on tape of the game against Utah State.

“He is a super-talented young man,” Gonzales said, “He can throw the ball very well. He’s trying to be a leader. Tevaka has the most experience. Trae is spinning the ball very well. He’s really coming into his own on leadership. Those guys are following him. If he continues to play the best then he’ll be the guy.”

Hall has been known for being soft-spoken, yet he has come out of his shell this season and has been more vocal.

“I’ve been trying to step up and be a better leader,” Hall said.

Hall turned the corner during spring football, when he asserted himself as a leader and showed that he could be the starter. When practices were cut short because of the coronavirus, Hall returned to Texas to be with his family. He maintained fitness at home and threw the football in the backyard to his younger brother, Kaleb, 12, and his father, Nick.

Trae Hall came back to Albuquerque last month eager to pick up from where he left off in March.

“I just want to have a great season with my teammates,” Hall said. “We can end on something positive. I want to make sure we are all on the same page.”

TESTING: The Lobos had zero positive cases of COVID-19 after the latest round of testing on Wednesday morning, Gonzales said Friday.

The UNM athletic department has completed 1,400 tests in 2020 and have had 17 positives for COVID-19 (a 1.2% positive rate), including no positives since Aug. 28, UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez said.

“Give credit to our kids,” Gonzales said. “Give credit to (head athletic trainer Bob Waller) and our medical team, and Dr. Andy Veitch (team doctor). First and foremost, it’s our players. They’re doing what they’re being asked to do. They’ve kept themselves safe. They’ve contained in the bubble that we’ve tried to have. I’m proud of our football team.”

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