Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Jake Heaps: Year Two
Some BYU fans (and I count myself among these) are very optimistic about BYU's 2011 football season. Some BYU fans (and I also count myself among these) are making a lot of assumptions about the progress of BYU's offense going into the season.
We're assuming, because of the 10 returning starters on offense, BYU is going to hit the ground running. We're assuming, despite the offensive struggles last year against teams NOT named UTEP, UNLV, Colorado St. or New Mexico, things are going to be different in 2011. We're assuming Brandon Doman is going to excel at play-calling, despite his lack of experience in that department. We're also Jake Heaps is going to be a different, more mature, more experienced quarterback.
Frankly, I don't think those are crazy assumptions. Ten returning starters makes a huge difference. The offense did more than just improve against the weaker opponents; they played in the same manner a Max Hall or John Beck-led offense played.
Brandon Doman was a quarterback for a number of years, for crying out loud. What position better prepares you for calling plays? Plus, who knows what the QB is capable of better than his QB coach, the coach that has spent the most time with him? Brandon Doman knows the players, and he will be fine.
But what the success of the 2011 BYU football team will really boil down to is how Jake Heaps performs in his second season as the BYU QB.
If you are like me and believe there was more involved in BYU's late-season success than a slate of weaker opponents, then you probably feel Heaps is poised to have a big year. I think it was apparent that Jake improved as he got the lion's share of the reps in practice. That's something that DIDN'T happen in the fall, and that seems rather important for a incoming true freshman quarterback.
If you think the lesser schedule was the reason for the improvement, then why was Heaps so bad against Wyoming and Utah State? And better yet, why was his performance against Utah better than any of Max Hall's?
Jake Heaps grew last year, and, with him being the #1 guy, getting most the reps in fall camp, and having the respect of the rest of the team as a leader, he is only going to continue to grow and pick up where he left off.
Physically, he is a lot more mature as well. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to notice a huge difference in his recent appearance. He definitely looks more cut and even a few years older. During Media Day, he said he's put on about 15 pounds (presumably of muscle) since last season. This will make a difference in his game for year two.
Early in the 2010 season, it was pretty apparent he and his receivers weren't always on the same page. But he developed rapport with them towards the end of the season, and that relationship will continue to grow. Throw into the mix a freakishly talented Ross Apo, with whom he already has well-documented chemistry, and an offensive line that is both deep and talented, and the table is set for a big 2011.
And that's a good thing, because the success of BYU's 2011 football team depends on it.
Posted by scott at 5:36 AM