PROVO — After being pulled from the Utah State game, then watching backup Riley Nelson rally BYU to a win over the Aggies, sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps has been fighting to keep the starting job this week.
When Heaps was asked about what he needs to improve on, he paused for a moment, searching for words.
"Just hitting the throws and being confident in my reads and going from there and not second-guessing myself and not looking over my shoulder and wondering what's going on," he said. "Just going out there and playing and having fun and not caring if I get pulled or what happens. I can't control that."
Heaps said that coach Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Brandon Doman will decide how to handle the quarterback situation.
"It's up to coach Doman and coach Mendenhall what happens at that point," he said. "So for me, I'm going to go out there and have fun and do the best that I can and see what happens."
Heaps said being removed from the USU game "stung a little bit, but it worked out. It was a great win."
Heaps said he still has the support of his teammates. "My teammates have been great. Through this whole process it's really been fun to know that they have my back in support. No matter what happens, no matter what the outcome is, I love them and they love me and that's really not going to change whether I'm the starter or not."
It was Doman who recommended to Mendenhall that a change should be made at quarterback last Friday.
"I just felt strongly at that moment in time to win that football game that night, we needed to make a change," Doman explained. "It wasn't like I was making calculated decisions off of data. It was more based off of a feeling that I had. I've learned in my life to respond to the feelings that I have. And that was the feeling I had at that moment. … It was strong enough to follow."
HOMECOMING: While BYU celebrates homecoming Saturday, two San Jose State players will enjoy their own homecoming at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
David and Peter Tuitupou, who are brothers from Orem, have strong ties to BYU. David, a 25-year-old junior defensive end, spent two years with the Cougars before transferring to SJSU. Both David and Peter served missions.
"It's kind of weird to go to your hometown, where you were raised, and be the enemy," David told the San Jose Mercury News.
"This is kind of a home/road game for us because we'll have a lot of family there," said Peter, who is a 23-year-old junior tight end. "It's complicated."
Their mom, Carolyn, has worked at BYU for 25 years. She is currently the assistant dean of undergraduate education.
"I'm going to cheer for both teams. How can I not?" Carolyn Tuitupou said. "Underneath it all, I'm hoping the boys come out with the victory, although it seems somewhat disloyal."
REMATCH: Nelson has faced San Jose State before. When he was a true freshman quarterback at Utah State in 2006, Nelson completed 21-of-24 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 56 yards on 11 carries against SJSU.
However, the Spartans won the contest, 21-14, after overcoming a 14-0 deficit in the second quarter.
BYU-OSU ON TV: BYU and Oregon State announced Friday that BYU Broadcasting, in conjunction with Fox College Sports, will broadcast the Cougar-Beaver football game on Oct. 15 in Corvallis, Ore.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast live on Fox College Sports Pacific and KBYU television. Dave McCann will provide play-by-play for the game.
The game will be rebroadcast on BYUtv at 8 p.m. (MT) and ROOT Sports Northwest at 7:30 p.m. (PT). The rebroadcast will be available online at byutv.org.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company