PROVO — Brandon Doman completed his first fall camp practice as BYU's offensive coordinator Saturday. He seemed completely in his element — confident, and comfortable. At the same time, he demanded plenty out of his players.
Perhaps nobody is happier about Doman's dual role as quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator than Jake Heaps.
Doman spent considerable time and effort recruiting the sophomore quarterback, and, as a result, the two have forged a close bond.
"It's remarkable. To have the opportunity to be recruited by all sorts of people and all sorts of quarterback coaches, I believe coach Doman is the best quarterback coach in the country," Heaps said. "He's going to get the very best out of me."
Heaps added that Doman will make a big impact in his new position.
"To have him as our offensive coordinator, I think people are going to realize very quickly that he's one of the great young minds in college football right now. To have an opportunity to be around him and soak up his enthusiasm and the way he coaches, I absolutely love it. I came here because of him. I came here because of our relationship and how close we are together. That helps us going to practice, watching film and knowing what we're looking at and him telling me what he wants me to do and me being able to understand and apply it. It's going to help our offense. I'm lucky to work with him."
Senior running back JJ Di Luigi also likes what he sees from Doman.
"He did great. He was calling good plays. Our offense is getting around him and getting fired up and energized out there. We're making plays. There's so much more energy and desire to play and desire to win."
Unlike last year, there is no quarterback controversy in fall camp. Last August, Heaps, then a true freshman, was battling Riley Nelson for the starter's job. At the end of camp, the Cougar coaching staff decided to play both QBs, then Heaps ended up with the starting job after Nelson's season-ending shoulder injury.
Now, there's no doubt that the keys to the offense belong to Heaps.
"We know who our quarterback is," Doman said. "We know what scheme to put in and what package to put together. We're not going back-and-forth between Riley and Jake, trying to figure out how to run the triple option and throw the football."
Those struggles Heaps experienced as a freshman has aided his development, Doman said.
"He's gone through a lot of maturity in a lot of ways off the football field. He's older and more mature. Turning 20 is a big deal for him. He's ready to do well."
Doman said Nelson is the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart. Could Nelson, who has tremendous running ability, play a role in the offense this season?
"We'll make those decisions in about a week from now," Doman said. "We're going to prepare him to be a great quarterback. I'm so excited about where he is right now. From there we'll work on that decision, whether or not to put in a package for him."
Doman's biggest task is overseeing Heaps' progress. He likes the fact that his quarterback has been through some battles, and has earned his teammates' respect. But Doman is quick to add that Heaps still has plenty to learn, and a lot of work to do, in order to reach his potential.
As for the team, which is basking in the glow of its newfound independent status, Doman is trying to tone down the hype.
"The expectations are too big and we've probably built up a bigger machine than we really are right now," Doman said. "We can be great. We have great talent. But a lot of our talent is very young. The expectations are fantastic. I love that there are high expectations, but we've got a long ways to go and a lot of work to do to match the expectations that are in place."
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