Comments about ‘Riley Nelson or Jake Heaps? A former BYU quarterback's insight’

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Published: Monday, Oct. 3 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

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Cedar Hills, UT

Good point! Use Nelson until BYU really need Heaps.

Chubbuck, Idaho

Here's a better insight....Try Lark or Munns! We've both seen how this story plays out with Heaps and nelson. It's called 7-6 seasons.

South Jordan, UT

who needs an arm when you've got flowing hair? I say go with RILEY!!

Lincoln Coug
Lincoln, NE

Nelson has the momentum and has earned a chance to start the next game. I see this as a chance to light a fire under Heaps. After all, Heaps has been, in my opinion, the weakest link on the team the past few games. He's overthrown wide open receivers and forced other throws. Bench Heaps for a couple games and, hopefully, he'll rise up to the challenge and retake the starting spot. That's ultimately what every Cougar fan wants to see happen as he's the future. Until then, let's roll with Nelson and a reinvigorated offense.

Lindon, UT

Nelson has the trust and confidence of the team which may be the most important piece to the puzzle right now. And everyone should check out the "Ode to Riley Nelson's Hair" on Youtube.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Jake's problem is mental. He has been picked off and had other problems. He has over corrected and the pressure he is under had not made it any easier.

Ride the Riley momentum, let the pressure off of Jake. Riley will develop well and Jake will also develop. Riley might even get noticed by the NFL.

Jake will be great given time.

This is a win-win-win situation. Jake, Riley and BYU will be the better for this.

Columbia, MO

You have courage, Paul, to voice your opinion that Riley should now be given a chance. But I think you're right. I disagree, however, that Heaps won the starting role after head-to-head competition last year, because Riley was still in the mix until he got injured.

While you saw the parallel to what happened to you, I saw a parallel to what happened with Steve Young. When asked to take over the starting role for the first time (for an injured Jim McMahon) Steve came in with his left-handed flutter passes and running ability. Like Riley, he engineered a win against Utah State when it looked as though BYU might lose. Given enough chances to throw the football, I think Riley would develop into a good passer just like Steve Young. Then we might just forget about Jake Heaps for another year and BYU will be able to string together 3 or 4 seasons of great QB play, without trying out every guy on the roster.

Veritas Aequitas
Fruit Heights, UT

Nelson's hail mary was a floating duck, and his TD pass was deflected.

If BYU can count on Nelson getting lucky on every passing play, and suprising the other teams DC with a QB draw 3 of every 4 plays, I say Nelson 100%.

If not, you give the ball to your talent.

metamora, IL

Excellent insight from the author of this article! I agree that the cougs start Nelson. If he maintains the momentum he had on Friday night let him continue. We are now entering the weaker portion of the schedule so I would expect Nelson to lead the cougs to some serous blow out games. If so, let heaps come in to mop up. He still gets game experience but doesn't have to bear the brunt of winning or losing.

West Jordan, Utah

A Ute fans take.

The positives for Heaps are a big arm and good size. The negatives on him right now are lagging mental development, low confidence, and an obvious lack of respect from his teammates.

Riley has negatives with an inaccurate weak arm being at the forefront. Still, despite being an ugly practice performer, this Nelson cat is a gamer. Being under fire gets his juices going.

Heaps on the other hand looks scared to take a hit in the pocket.

Riley has a leadership advantage over Heaps. Just look at the plays BYU's WRs were making for Riley that they didn't with Heaps.

With Nelson, tucking and running with the ball all of the time will taper off the success ratio as soon as a defense forces Riley to pass. Still, Riley might jump start a moxy for BYU's offense that might be able to be maintained with their schedule to come.

Salem, UT

Great insight Paul! It's nice to hear the opinions of forner Cougars! Thanks!

Still Blue after all these years
Kaysville, UT

If we were playing 7 on 7 without pads, I'd go with Heaps. But we are not. Riley, then Lark, then Munns, then Heaps. That's what's been earned by the four.

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Go with Riley - after the haircut. :-) If he falters, Heaps can come in and have everyone pulling for him to play up to the hype. Otherwise, the pressure will be too great to perform well, with his thinking, after every errant pass that the fans would rather see Riley in. Coaches always say, "it is what happens on the field between the whistles that counts". Well here is a clear cut case.

Go Riley! If you falter, Jake will be backing you up!

Chandler, AZ

The real question is...and has been since the start of the season, is how is Doman going to call the game. While I am in favor of starting Nelson and have never really been a Heaps believer, just waiting for him to show it on the field, it really comes back to Doman. You can see that Heaps has struggled in Doman's conservative and strange play calling and that Doman has not really done much to adjust or help him, so what is he going to do with Nelson? Have him run it every down? If Doman can adjust and have Nelson run maybe 5 times a game, max, then I think they'll be okay (contrary to most opinions Nelson really can throw the ball it's just that he hasn't had much of a chance) but if Doman goes into it with the idea of running every play and then trying to throw on 3rd down then we'll see the same ole 10-16 pt/game offense.

We'll see how fast the rookie OC can adjust.

Naval Vet
Philadelphia, PA

The QB conundrum is really quite simple. Start Nelson - since he's the better signal caller - OR start Heaps IF he hires a better publicist. Remember, it's all about exposure. And the WORLD will be watching the cougars' EPIC showdown vs. San Jose State. Now THAT's what I call, "must see TV".

South Jordan, UT

I don't think we have really seen enough of Riley to know how well he can throw the ball. Last year he was playing with an injured shoulder so I don't think it would be fair to say he doesn't have a good arm from what we've seen last year.

San Diego, CA

A pure pocket passer with poor scrambling skills (i.e., Jake Heaps) sometimes must wait for his receiver to separate from the defender before throwing the ball. This often results in the QB taking a hit from a pass rushing defender just after releasing the pass.
Jake's biggest problem is throwing too soon, apparently out of fear from being hit, before the receiver has achieved separation. When Jake learns to take 5-6 hits a game, for the team, in exchange for key completed passes, he will earn the respect of the entire offense.
Jake needs to learn to play for the moment, not for preserving a future NFL career; otherwise that career will never happen.

Pocatello, ID

Anybody remember Doman being the hero at the end of the 2000 season and making sure LaVell didn't go out with a losing season? He made such an impression on the new hc Gary Crowton that he named him the starter over Engemann the next fall. Said it was the leadership and I believe Crowton tweaked his offense somewhat to take advantage of Doman's skills as a runner and play maker. If Nelson gets the start I would hope that they call some plays to his skill set. The biggest problem I see is there is no Luke Staley to hand the ball off to.

Veritas Aequitas
Fruit Heights, UT

@Naval Vet | 1:45 p.m. Oct. 3, 2011
Philadelphia, PA

Brother, after all the smack, that was just a brilliant post.

No kidding.

I disagree, but from a Utah point of view, that was hilarious!

Bleed Crimson
Sandy, Utah

Riley or Heaps? That is not even debatable! Riley Nelson is the better quarterback! I've been saying this since last year. Hypes is way over his head. He needs to come back to earth. If I were the byu coaches, I would put Jake on the bench and Riley starting and salvage what's left of the season. People may argue Jake has more potential than Riley! I completely disagree. The fans and coaches only see this because Jake has a strong arm, and he was supposedly "highly recruited". The problem with Jake is he lacks the "Touch" a quarterback needs to put on the ball for his receivers to catch. Notice how many drop balls that were thrown by Jake? He riffles the ball! He is completely inaccurate with his passes that are longer than 15 yards. The last problem he has, he doesn't know how to read a defense. He has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.

Riley, is a tough running quarterback who isn't afraid to get hit (unlike Jake). Riley is more accurate with his passes, and most importantly for a quarterback, he is a leader! Riley was the reason byu beat USU.

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