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BYU football notebook: Jake Heaps taking QB situation in stride

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 4 2011 10:42 p.m. MDT

Quarterbacks' Riley Nelson,left, and #9 Jake Heaps workout during BYU football practice Monday, Aug. 15, 2011. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News archives) Quarterbacks' Riley Nelson,left, and #9 Jake Heaps workout during BYU football practice Monday, Aug. 15, 2011. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News archives)

PROVO — Jake Heaps has been humbled after being pulled from last Friday's game. And Riley Nelson has apologized for the length of his hair.

That's the latest in BYU's ongoing quarterback quandary.

Speaking to the media for the first time since he was benched in the third quarter of Friday's dramatic win against Utah State, Heaps said after Tuesday's practice he's dealing with the situation.

"It is what it is. You just take it one day at a time and you take it in stride," he said. "There's nothing you can do other than working hard and taking advantage of every rep that you can … I'm fine. I'm actually really good. It's just one day at a time. It's just a matter of having a good attitude about it. It's not going to do me much good to sit here and complain and whine about it."

BYU QBs Jake Heaps, James Lark, Riley Nelson and Jason Munns practice on Wednesday, August 10, 2011. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) BYU QBs Jake Heaps, James Lark, Riley Nelson and Jason Munns practice on Wednesday, August 10, 2011. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Coach Bronco Mendenhall reiterated that it might take the whole week to decide which quarterback will start Saturday against San Jose State. "The intrigue will build, it looks like," he said.

How much will Nelson's performance against USU weigh into the decision?

"Riley came in and did a fantastic job, but that was only one game and only one half," Mendenhall said. "That has to be measured also. That's why we're taking our time."

During practice this week, when it comes to the quarterbacks, Mendenhall said he's looking for "production, in terms of practice, how they manage the practice reps, how they're each handling the situation they're in, and who will provide the best leadership and production."

Mendenhall said he will make the final decision, adding that he will rely heavily on the recommendation of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman.

Asked if he was surprised to be taken out of the game on Friday, Heaps said, "I was pretty surprised about it. But it ended up working for our team and it was a great win. Riley played well and it was an exciting win for our team. It was hard not to be the guy at the end of the game, but we won the game and I'm proud of our guys."

Nelson said the team's morale is high in wake of the win over USU, and offered some "no comment" responses when asked questions about the quarterback situation.

Much has been made of Nelson's longish hairstyle, which has been glorified by at least one YouTube video and may have been in violation of the school's strict dress and grooming standards.

"People have had some fun with my hair," said Nelson, whose is sporting shorter hair this week. "By the way, if anyone cares, I apologize for any offense that my appearance may have caused Friday night. There's been some opinions expressed on that, so people have had some fun. But again, I apologize. I was out of line … It got to a point, and just being a dumb, lazy college student, I like to keep it a little bit longer. It got long and then school started. I didn't want to just buzz it off … I apologize."

KICKOFF TIME SET: BYU confirmed Tuesday that the Oct. 15 game at Oregon State will kick off at 2 p.m. (MT). It does not appear that the game will be televised.

email: jeffc@desnews.com

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