Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New BYU Football Era

jake heaps byu
Jim Mcmahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, and Ty Detmer.  These are pioneers of the BYU quarterback legacy that has now created an expectation of what is to be displayed at BYU in regards to the quarterback position.  With these pioneers, there are another handful of names that can be listed who stood out as top college quarterback of their time.  BYU was one of the first college football teams to start throwing the ball down field.  Lavell Edwards and Norm Chow set the standard for the spread offense and helped pave the way for what is now a common offensive lineup to see throughout the country.  However, since then, the quarterback at BYU has been in the national spotlight and programs expect to face a throwing offense when they come into Provo.

What has surprised many spectators are the quarterbacks that have been "built" at BYU.  Many quarterbacks that play at BYU are not top national recruits who are receiving multiple BCS contending scholarship offers.  They are not the 6'4"'s, 210 lbs with running and throwing ability.  They usually are an average size guy with a slightly above average strength of arm that doesn't catch much attention at a college combine.  However, time and time again, BYU is able to show that they can build these quarterbacks in their system and turn them into reliable, NFL style quarterbacks.

In 2010, the game changed for BYU.  For the first time in quite some time, a national, heavy recruited quarterback made the choice to play at BYU.  Sure there have been the Ben Olsens and Brett Engemens who brought a lot of hype into Provo, only to disappoint in the long run, however, never has BYU seen a recruit step on the field as a true freshman and be able to throw the ball as Jake Heaps does.  It is a new era for BYU Football.

Jake Heaps has been throwing the ball since he was a toddler.  At 9 years of age, every Saturday, his parents would drive him 3 hours to Portland to train with a top quarterback coach.  Having been groomed at such a young age, it makes sense why the kid throws such a hard, good looking ball.  In high school, he was able to lead his team to three straight state championships, while only losing two games throughout his high school career.  His passing numbers are ridiculous and his decision to attend BYU started a fire that hadn't been felt in Provo in a while.

As the 2010 football season began for the Cougars, Heaps has been splitting time with Junior quarterback Riley Nelson.  Coach Bronco Mendenhall's decision to not start Heaps has been that he feels despite the true freshman's undeniable pure talent and skills, he still lacks some leadership and "grit" that Riley Nelson possesses.  So for now, it has been a trade off.  No doubt Mendenhall's decision to not red shirt the freshman, thus losing a year of eligibility, shows that the coach expects him to play quite a bit this season.  There is a fine line of being "gentle" with Heaps while not missing opportunities for growth and playing time.  My prediction is that Heaps is the starter by game 4.

Time will tell what this new youngster will bring to BYU.  He has some big shoes to fill but has already said that his goal is to be better than anyone else.  With his skill set and his mindset, I don't think there is anything stopping him.


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