Catching up with Gabe Hall

What is your status? I had heard that you had been talking to a few NFL teams about a free agent contract.

I was in talks with the Baltimore Ravens, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, things just didn’t finalize. I also had a workout scheduled with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL, but I had to make some crucial decisions that didnt allow me to explore that option. I promise you though VU FAMILY, you havent heard the last of Gabe and professional football if its the Lord’s Will. I actually am right now a graduate assistant strength coach at North Carolina Central University, Im also majoring in Sports Administration. I turned down offers for the same position at Virginia Tech and Southern Miss because the timing was bad. I believe God put me in the right spot. After I fulfill my duty training the different sports I work with Im able to train around the clock..like I said you haven’t heard the last of Gabe.

What are you most proud of from your time at Vanderbilt?

Man, all the relationships that I was able to form with my temamtes coaches, fans, alumini, teachers, the people that work in McGuigin and around campus, that will last for a lifetime! Its truly VU for Life!! Being at another institution just makes me realize that no other place even remotely campares to VU!

Where was the hardest place to play?

Definitely the University of Tennessee,, When you walk in that place you can literally smell the hatred of 100,000 plus people in your nostrils.

Who was the hardest guy to tackle?

It wasn’t Felix Jones or the elusive Raphael Little. It wasnt even the great Darren McFadden…..It was true freshman tailback Moreano from Georgia

Your freshman year we opened up against South Carolina at home. What do you remember about your first game as a Commodore?

I remember coming down from the starwalk seeing our fans go crazy and thinking..

WELCOME TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

Your sophomore year what do you remember about that big goal line stand against Arkansas in the 1st qtr? They had 3 chances from our 1 and couldn’t get in. I think that was crucial and often forgotten about in that game.

Man that stand still gets me fired up! I remember Theo Horrocks, herdley Harrison, Lamar Divens, David Carter and everyone else having absolutely no regard for the body on that goaline stand…..WE smacked Arkansas in the mouth on that stand…Houston Nutt knew that we were dominating the game early so he wanting to go to the ATM a little early, and let me tell you it was ACCESS DENIED…My former Fork Union temamate David Carter made two crucial plays that made that stand possible.

What do you remember about the big home win against Ole Miss to go to 3-0?

We were so conident! No one could have beaten us that day!! We had been heavily battled tested with road wins at Wake Forest and Arkansas the first two games…No matter what they did we knew we could respond with fury…and our fans were so jacked up! We had 12 men on the field that day smacking Ole Miss in the mouth!

How special was the win in Knoxville that year?

Monumental! That game changed the face of VU football for life..It changed the mindset of a entire program and fan base, as well as the minds of broadcasters, and the OTHER team, that VU can beat anyone, anywhere…..It wasn’t us burning the hedges with our win at #16 ranked Georgia or us beating #6 ranked South Carolina in Spurriers back yard, but it was the win at UT that set our march back to a big bowl game victory this year!

What do you remember about playing Michigan in Ann Arbor?

I cant say that we would have won the year before because you still have to play the game, and I know we had Cutler, but lets just say Michigan was glad that playmaker was gone.We just couldn’t capitalize on turnovers, and make more big plays on defense. When your playing an oppenent at their place capatizing on turnovers is the equalizer, We failed to do that.

What did you think when you watched Handfeldt’s field goal attempt in the home game against Arkasas your Junior year. I swear there was no wind before Arkansas called time out. After the time out the wind magically picked up and the field goal try came up just a little short.

I actually started walking on to the field early..when he kicked it had so much power and height..but more importantly it was headed between the uprights..Im telling you it was something out of a movie, a gust of wind came out of nowhere…but I make no excuses if the offense and defense had of done more we wouldn’t have put Handfeld’s kick in such a crucial moment.

What do you remember thinking as you watched Hanfeldt’s field goal attempt in Athens later that year?

I closed my eyes..I though if I watched, I was going to cause him to miss! I remeber closing my eyes and praying that Hanfeld do what he does best…and he did!

The Alabama game your senior year was one where Alabama got all the calls. Earl got called for pushing off on that long bomb to start the game. Then Alex Washington’s punt return got called back for a penalty that even the TV commentator’s didn’t understand. What are your thoughts on that game?

VU family if I die tomorrow remember this..How you handle adversity determines your destiny…Those calls were absolutely horrible!! But we didn’t regroup and make those big plays again that we were more than capable of..We let Alabama dictate the pace way to much after that.

The Georgia game was a broadcast on ESPN2 and I thought it was going to be a big win for our program. What did you think when you saw Cassen Jackson-Garrison’s fumble?

I didn’t believe it had happened, and refused to believe it until i was on defense 18 seconds later..I felt bad for Casson I know he would do anything to run that ball again. We let Georgia back into the game that whole third quarter and they finally got a break…The last Hurdle that our team must fix is finishing ball games 100 % of the time..and when I say finish.. I mean just absolutely biting flesh off the bone to seal the deal.

Another disappointing game last year was the Ketucky game. It just seemed like missed field goals came back to haunt us and Ketucky did just enough to win the game.

We physically dominated Kentucky on defense and shut down their monster screen game, but defense didnt do it enough, and neither did our other units…Those field goals can be a blanket for an excuse but the botton line is UK made fewer BIG mistakes and beat a MUCH BETTER team

You were quoted as saying ” They know they escaped” after the UT game. The defense played lights out against that day. What are your thoughts on the playcalling in the 4th qtr?

It just seemed we went into a shell. Three straight 3 and outs with run, run, pass. It seemed like they knew what we were doing every play. I owe it to you guys to be completely honest but I felt we should have kept taking it to them, UT was on their heels and we SHOULD have kept our foot on the gas

What are your thoughts on this year’s team?

It’s too bad Earl isn’t coming back. I think they are going to shock a lot of people…Its good to stay under the radar early..you can focus on just you and what you need to do without outside influence…Earl was a awesome player, but mark my words Sean Walker has the elite speed and work ethic to be that same threat Earl was, I trained in Nashville untill July 18 and I cant tell you how many times I saw Sean working on routes and running with his parachute at 9.30 at night..thats no exaggeration, and his play will prove that as great as Earl was we have someone else looking to breakout in the same fashion.

Who do you think will be the starting QB?

Both the guys can flat out play, you’ve seen CNick at his greatest when he amassed 500 yards of offense agaisnt Kentucky two years ago, and you’ve seen Mackenzie at his best when we beat SouthCarolina..This will be a tough job forthe coaches that I wouldn’t want right now..I will say this whoever can win the respect of the teammates gains an edge.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to the Vandy fans?

Keep Theo, Goff and Chris Williams in your prayers as they recover from injury as well as Gatewood, Buggs and Stamp as they continue to battle in camp…Also fans I hope you will welcome me to your family..VU for Life