Former BYU QB Jake Heaps 'chomping at the bit' to get back in a real-game situation
"He knows the offense well; he sat out a year so he got to get the offense down," Sims said of Heaps during Big 12 Media Day. "He's really been on his Ps and Qs about offense and whatnot and just being a leader. That's one thing, on offense we rely on the quarterback as being the leader, and he's stepped up and he's doing a great job of that."
Heaps knows the key to getting the Kansas offense on track is by improving the passing attack.
"I think it's going to be very key for us to be able to be balanced. We have a great running back in James Sims and we have a great running back group, arguably the best running back group in the country," Heaps said. "As a quarterback, that makes you feel comfortable. At the same time, you want to alleviate the pressure off them, you want to be able to get so they're not facing eight man boxes every time. If we can be balanced as an offense, I think we're going to be very tough to stop."
Two other weapons Heaps will have at his disposal this year are halfback Tony Pierson and wide receiver Justin McCay.
Last season, Pierson was second on the team in both rushing and receiving yards (790 rushing, 291 receiving) and he added four touchdowns. Kansas is looking to use him in a more versatile role, like West Virginia did with Tavon Austin in 2012. Last year, Austin had 2,910 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns and is now on the St. Louis Rams roster after being the 15th player taken overall in the NFL Draft.
"We're sitting there watching tape on Austin do these amazing things and we're going, man we've got a guy just like that. And why aren't we using him in that capacity," Heaps said of Pierson. "Instead of having to give him the ball and have everyone know where he is getting the ball, now all he has to do is get the ball and make one or two guys miss and he's gone. It's going to put us in a position to have more explosive plays and be a more balanced offense."
McCay is a 6-foot-2, 213-pound transfer from Oklahoma, and will also be playing his first season for the Jayhawks. He could be a go-to player for Kansas in the passing game.
"You have a big, physical receiver like Justin, it's always good as a quarterback because you know you can throw it in his frame and he's going to go up and get it and secure the football," Heaps said. "Justin and I go way back, we played together in the Army All-American game, we completed a couple passes in that game. When we both transferred to Kansas, it was really fun. We were on the scout team together and developed chemistry." Heaps is also looking forward to playing in a conference that has built a reputation for high-octane offenses led by strong-armed quarterbacks. Among the recent Big 12 quarterback products are Baylor's Robert Griffin III, West Virginia's Geno Smith, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, and Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Sam Bradford. This year, Texas' David Ash is the most experienced quarterback in the conference.
"I really came here to Kansas because of coach Weis and the pedigree that he has and the relationship that we've had over the years," Heaps said. "It's been a pleasure working with him on a consistent basis and (quarterbacks coach Ron) Powlus, it's been so much fun. But being in a league that throws the ball around and has these high-octane offenses is really, really fun to be a part of, that is for sure, and I'm looking forward to it."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @brandonljudd
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