Dick Harmon: No QB controversy this year as Cougars know who will lead them into fall camp
"He's good. He's a leader. He's got a ton of 'want-to.' He can throw it around," Doman told reporters a couple of weeks ago.
"The players look up to him and respect him now. It's taken some time, but they know who to lean on and who to look to. He's stepped forward to be the leader. Completion percentage-wise, he's as good as any quarterback we've had in spring practice.
"He's understanding the offense and putting the ball where it needs to be," Doman said. "The timing, decision-making and accuracy, all that kind of stuff, is proving that he will be a great quarterback here. That allows BYU to be really good, as we've seen in the past."
Both Heaps and Nelson suffered through a great deal in a tough early-season schedule in 2010. That didn't help, either.
It was Heaps that finished as the starter and led the Cougars to a 5-1 mark in their final six games. BYU's only loss in that stretch came at Utah, which blocked a potential game-winning field-goal attempt at the final gun. A coaching decision took the ball out of his hands when in scoring position. The season-finale was a 52-24 bowl win over UTEP.
"With more reps, the more our offense was able to grow," Heaps said of the second half of the season. "We built chemistry and were clicking more. We were really able to show what we were capable of doing."
Heaps will receive help from four returning offensive linemen, and all of his key receivers, running backs and tight ends also return.
"I wouldn't trade what I learned last year for anything," said Heaps.
Heaps' greatest lesson learned?
"I've learned not to take anything for granted." His high school teams went 40-2 and won three state titles. He cannot ever take winning as a given.
A year ago, Mendenhall allowed his football team to grow up by suffering through a gauntlet of sorts in order to get better today.
We shall see if that sacrifice worked.
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