Same Old Jake Heaps

One of the more anticipated events of the Brigham Young Cougars win against Idaho State was quarterback Jake Heaps taking snaps for the first time since being benched in game five. Heaps was experiencing a major sophomore slump. After three weeks without playing, how would Heaps respond?

I was rooting very hard for Heaps to not just make a good showing, but a great showing. I expected a night and day difference between the Jake Heaps from the first five games of 2011, similar to the night and day changes seen in 2010 after the bye week.

Sadly, the Jake Heaps that took the field against Idaho State was the same old Jake Heaps. The problems and troubling trends that existed in the first five games were readily apparent with Heaps at the helm against Idaho State. Consider the following:
  • Heaps had four offensive series. They ended as follows: turnover, punt, touchdown, turnover. A 2:1 turnover to touchdown ratio.
  • Heaps zeroed in on Ross Apo. Two of his first three passes were to Apo. (Apo left the game after Heaps’ first series.)
  • Heaps averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt, and only 8.4 yards per completion. Those numbers weren’t too far off his season averages of 5.3 yards per attempt and 9.5 yards per completion.
Heaps also had a mental mistake opening up to the wrong side for a handoff. To make matters worse, the BYU defense scored a touchdown after Heaps entered the game.

I had been waiting for the TCU game and Riley Nelson’s performance to better judge how the quarterbacks should be managed in 2012. After Heaps played the same way against a very bad FCS foe as he did against FBS teams, it might not matter what Nelson does this Friday.

Nevertheless, I still believe in Heaps. I still expect Heaps to finish his BYU career as a member of the quarterback club. The take home message last Saturday was that it is going to take more work than I originally thought—more work from Heaps and more work from Brandon Doman. More work means more time, which favors redshirting Heaps in 2012.

Hopefully, Heaps gets two more chances this year against Idaho and New Mexico State, and he can take a step or two forward in those games.

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  1. Let me clarify one thing, based on the initial reaction from readers.

    This is not an attempt to bash Jake Heaps. I am merely trying to give an honest evaluation of Heaps and how he compares after the benching to before.

  2. I think Heaps issues are more of a coaching problem. His core issues IMO are pocket presence, staring down receivers, touch on long passes and creating time for receivers. Coaches should be setting up plays to get him to pump fake, look for secondary receivers, move around in the pocket, throw more 10+ yard throws, etc. These should be play calls, practices and specific instruction. I don't think it's happening the right way from the coaches.

  3. I was also disappointed. Heaps has shown what he can do (end of last season), and it is somewhat mysterious as to why he can't even play on a high level against a team like Idaho St.

    In his defense, he was playing mostly with the second unit, and the second turnover really can't be put on his shoulders (he is not the one who fumbled it). But still, I was expecting more. I thought Jake would be playing with a fire inside, a burning desire to get back to the number one spot. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

    I also agree with Anon. There is a coaching problem. Heaps performance noticeably went down once Doman went to the box and he didn't have a QB coach on the sidelines to help him through the game. I think the number one priority in the off season should be to find a new QB coach whose attention won't be divided. It would not only benefit Heaps, but Nelson would improve as well.

  4. I don't think that Jake is athletic enough to ever play QB at an extremely high level. If you think of the two plays where Jake and Riley had bad snaps go past their heads. Jake looked like ridiculous trying to one-hand the ball and get it out of bounds. He basically whiffed. Riley made the same play and did it easily. If you were picking teams for a 5 on 5 b-ball game, would you even consider using one of your first few picks for Jake? I didn't think so. When he runs, he lumbers along like an o-lineman. BYU needs to make a concerted effort to recruit the best available athlete QB's, rather than the best thrower. The game being played at the highest levels of college and in the NFL, puts a premium on mobile QB's.

  5. You have to take into consideration that Heaps was playing (apart from the first drive) with 2nd and 3rd stringers, while Riley played up until that point with the first team. Also, why does it make matters worse that the D scored a touchdown while he was playing?

  6. Defensive Touchdown--It is a perception issue.

    What do we remember about the Ole Miss game? That the defense won the game with a TD.

    What do we remember about the UCF game? That Hoffman scored on a KO, and special teams practically gift wrapped the game winning TD for the offense.

    Those are the 2 games that BYU won with Heaps as a starter. The memory of 2011 is that defense/special teams were just about as reliable for points as the Heaps led offense.

    To see the defense score a touchdown after Heaps threw an interception further in grains that perception into the memory of fans.

  7. Athletic/Mobile QBs--interesting perspective.

  8. Name the two turnovers Heaps had in this game.

  9. Heaps didn't have 2 turnovers, and I did not say he did. The OFFENSE turned the ball over 2 times when Heaps was at quarterback.

    The total number of turnovers matters because quarterback is the one position that seems to have an impact on the overall performance of the unit--even when not directly involved in the play.

    Just look at all the stories and quotes from players about how they are playing harder with Nelson at QB.

    While Heaps did not personally turnover the ball twice, as the QB, it is a mark against Heaps that the RB fumbled the ball while Heaps was QB.

    It is just something that comes with the territory.

    When the offense is productive the QB is safe, regardless of how bad his stats may be.

    When the offense is unproductive the QB is not safe, even if many of the problems appear to be the fault of other players.

  10. All I can say is I hope Jake doesn't transfer. The Coaching staff has really mismanaged a really talented quarterback in my opinion. He does need personal one on one training and grooming to be the best quarter back he can be, but once he gets there I think he is going to be great. What top recruit will want to come here if this is what we do with top recruits?

    After watching Nelson in the TCU matchup it was easy to see where his abilities end. Someone figure out a way to get jake heaps arm on riley nelsons body because the kid cannot throw. His passing attack posed no threat to a rebuilding TCU D. While he did make some plays with his feet his inability to take a sack and play the next down cost us big.


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