Position Switch Can Succeed With Players Like Hall


For a player to change positions from college to professional football, he has to possess certain qualities.

He must have a natural feel for the game of football, an understanding of X's and O's that goes beyond that of a specific position, and a love for the game that makes him desire to be on the field, no matter where he lines up.

In short, he has to call himself a football player first, rather than a running back or cornerback or tackle.

The Green Bay Packers believe that's what Korey Hall is and those are the attributes he has, so they're going to see if they can convert the Boise State linebacker to fullback. But the above description often applies to special teams standouts as well, so Hall will be given every opportunity to make his mark that way too.

"It's clearly a projection," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of the role forecast for Hall, a sixth-round draft choice. "A lot of it has to do with his mental makeup."

McCarthy got as thorough a read as he could on that all-important mental makeup from someone he knows and trusts.

Fifteen years ago in his final season on the University of Pittsburgh staff, McCarthy coached the receivers while a young coach named Chris Petersen stepped in to coach the quarterbacks. Petersen is now the head coach at Boise State, and McCarthy said his high recommendation of Hall helped the Packers feel comfortable Hall could make the transition they're looking for.

His former college teammate, whom the Packers drafted in the second round in 2006 out of Boise State, seconded Petersen's nomination. Daryn Colledge doesn't know if Petersen, who was his offensive coordinator for the Broncos, played any significant role in him coming to Green Bay last year, but he certainly concurs that Hall is the smart, dedicated type who will work his tail off to make it in the NFL.

"He's a great player," said offensive lineman Daryn Colledge, the Packers' second-round pick out of Boise State in 2006. "He's a character guy all the way and he's a hard worker, and that's what's important. That's what's going to make him successful."

Hall hasn't played fullback since high school, so he has a long way to go to learn an NFL offense. His extensive knowledge of defensive schemes will certainly help him pick things up on the other side of the ball, but learning the finer points of the position is going to take some time.

"I think the positive thing is as far as looking at defensive fronts and the (offensive) front five, I'm able to understand that fairly well," Hall said. "Probably the hardest thing for me is all the technique stuff as far as playing fullback -- your stance, getting out (of the backfield), and understanding the playbook."

{sportsad300}His insistence on studying that playbook was evident during last weekend's rookie orientation camp. Colledge, who said he called to congratulate Hall upon being drafted, tried to invite his teammate over a couple of times last weekend but Hall took a rain check to stay at the hotel and study.

No matter how long that transition takes, though, special teams will be nothing new to Hall, and that's how Packers fans may get to know him quickly.

"He was the starting linebacker for four years and he was on every special team through his senior year," Colledge said. "He was on punt, on kickoff. He's a smart guy and a hard hitter. You need guys that know their role and know what they're going to do out there and get their job done and bring a certain level of aggression to it, and that's Korey."

Hall brought whatever aggression he could to his first workouts with the Packers, even though they were just in shorts and helmets.

"Coach keeps telling us he wants tough smart football players," Hall said. "To me you have to go out to practice and be tough."

He may have a better chance to show that in the upcoming mini-camp, and ultimately in training camp. So far, though, he's shown he fits that mold of a player in transition.

"He's a football player," McCarthy said. "He'd probably tell you he's not sure where he's going sometimes, but he's an instinctive football player, plays with good pad level. You just see a lot of his natural instinctive things that he does."

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