Doug Robinson: Jake Heaps a departure from BYU tradition of parking quarterbacks

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • huggyface Murray, UT
    Nov. 29, 2010 11:32 a.m.

    This season has other factors making it extremely challenging to start a freshman QB.

    1-No running game - With Unga not palying this year, there has been a drof off in production at running back. Kariya and JJ have vastly improved during the year, but still a significant drop off.

    2 - Inexperienced tight ends - George leaving and nobody stepping up to replace him.

    3 - Inexperienced receivers - this area has also vastly improved the last few weeks, but was obvious the first few games.

    All of these factors has made Heaps QB success even more challenging this season in addition to his own mastery of the offense, reading defenses, and timing with receivers.

    He seems to be the right man for the job.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Nov. 27, 2010 11:13 a.m.


    Well, today will be a good test for Heaps. If he can beat Utah, the starting position is his going into Spring camp. Even if he plays well and loses, I still think the position is his to lose. If Heaps lays an egg, then I think Bronco will open the position up for competition next spring. But in that scenario, Nelson, not Lark (whom you seem to favor) will have the inside track. Bronco is really high on Nelson.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Nov. 26, 2010 6:51 p.m.


    Yes, of course you're right about the game eperience, and that does count for something now. I've simply been curious about the choice of Heaps as a (now "the") starter and still am. No kid coming out of high school, even someone with Heaps' high school level ability is gonna read defenses or know the offense better than guys who are very football smart (like Lark and Nelson) and who have been with the program a couple of years already. I respectfully disagree that physical development in a D1 quarterback is unimportant: it's very important and leads to production (Andrew Luck would be a good example, and that's the kind of kid Lark is physically). Heaps has been productive the last several games, but either Nelson or Lark would also have been productive against those opponents.

    My point is simply that I haven't seen enough from him yet against a tough, physical opponent to understand why the coaches would make Heaps first a co-starter (a headscratcher all by itself) and now the starter. I'm more than happy to be wrong about it; I just haven't seen it yet.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Nov. 26, 2010 12:34 p.m.


    I almost agree with you except on a few points:
    "I guarantee you Heaps doesn't read defenses better than Nelson or Lark, and nothing he's done so far suggests that he does. Both guys are way ahead of him in experience, maturity and physical development (mobility)."

    Heaps already has much more game experience than Lark and almost as much game experience as Nelson. And although Heaps can't read defenses like McMahon (I haven't seen any BYU QB who could) I have seen nothing in Nelson's and Lark's play that they are any better. Heaps performance in Spring and Fall camps was justification to place him at least #2 in line at QB. I don't care about maturity or physical development, as much as performance and production. Right now he is at a level I would expect. Earlier in the year his performance was poor. And although now he is showing signs of being very good, he is not great and those (IMDABOMB) touting him to be the greatest ever are just plain way ahead of themselves.He is not yet the Messiah he is hyped up to be.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Nov. 26, 2010 8:41 a.m.

    I've been impressed with Heaps' poise since day one. He kept his head up even when it was clear that he did not know what he was doing. He is the real deal and will be a great QB, maybe the best ever at BYU.

    Since Bronco took over and asserted himself into the day to day coaching, this team has made an amazing turnaround across the board. I've not seen a turnaround like this since the1963 Huskies who made the Rose Bowl after an 0-3 start.

    Chris B, I'll be glad to not be reading your posts for a while. Crow will be hard to swallow after turkey, but I know you'll cowboy up to the table.

  • yankee doodle Layton, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 9:40 p.m.

    sammyg you are awesome!!
    I just marked that down!!!

  • fender Washington, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 9:27 p.m.


    Relax pardner. This is a football discussion available to everybody with an opinion, educated or otherwise. If all you want to do is make personal attacks and cheerlead, then maybe it's not for you.

    Heaps was a great high school QB, but so were the other guys on BYU's roster. Elite 11 measures somewhat subjectively a QB's mechanics, but not all the qualities that make for a D1 starter. I guarantee you Heaps doesn't read defenses better than Nelson or Lark, and nothing he's done so far suggests that he does. Both guys are way ahead of him in experience, maturity and physical development (mobility). Obviously not every great BYU QB could make plays with his feet like Steve Young, but given a choice, I think most intelligent coaches prefer one who can.

    Heaps may indeed turn out to be as great as you seem to think he is, but he hasn't demonstrated thus far why he's the best choice, so I think it's a fair topic for discussion. Let's see how he does on Saturday.

  • TheSpiker Alpine, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 7:37 p.m.

    I guess mom left the basement door unlocked again.


  • IMDABOMB Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 7:24 p.m.


    You clearly know nothing about football at BYU. Besides Steve Young, BYU is known for Pocket Passing QB's, not scramblers. And Jake Heaps may not be a scrambling QB, but he is every bit as mobile as Max Hall, John Beck, Steve Sarkisian, and Ty Detmer, any of those names sound familiar? If you watched the game vs. New Mexico last Saturday you would have seen Jake run in a touchdown. He is not as slow as people think.

    Jake is a pocket passer, a gunslinger. He may not outrun many defenders, but he has a football IQ that is off the charts. (See Elite 11 QB camp results) He can read defenses and can launch the ball across the field very accurately. And BYU IS a passing football team. Jake will do extremely well in the coming years.

    Once again, take your pathetic criticism and mindless arguments somewhere else. Lets not become our counterparts to the north and Boo our Qb and team when they have a bad game. Instead, stand behind our players and encourage them to continue to do their best and move forward even when things get bumpy.

    Go Cougs!

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Nov. 25, 2010 6:51 p.m.

    How long has known that there would be no QB with even side line experience this year??? 3 years, 4?

  • CRB Woods Cross, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 2:57 p.m.

    Absolutely Heaps is a departure from the type of QB that has been successful at BYU. Being a freshman is not the reason. Being immobile and lacking ability to create and not being able to throw on the run is fatal at BYU. They have built their system on the mobile, throw on the run type like Young, Doman, Hancock, Beck, McMahon and even Hall before the injury. The immobile guys have struggled like Walsh, Wilson and Berry. Sure they all get big yards against the 8-9 terrible teams on a typical BYU schedule but BYU's legacy of losing 1-3 games most years to any team that is average or above and some that are less so is due to the weakness of their Oline which cannot compete for an entire game against athletic big school defenses. This then means the QB's that have succeeded with wins not just passing numbers needed to be able to move and run and still pass. Heaps simply is not the type of QB that is successful in their system and you cannot teach mobility or quickness. I suspect he will be recuited over soon.

  • Cali Coug Visalia, CA
    Nov. 25, 2010 2:52 p.m.

    Max for President! While I am nervous for my boys in blue...let it be said, it is better to be dead than red. Cougars by 4 pts.

  • optimist Sun City, CA
    Nov. 25, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    IMDABOMB | 12:36 p.m. Nov. 25, 2010
    Cedar City, UT

    I totally agree with you. Let's all right something to let Jake know that we appreciate him and give him our total support.


  • Dave S Holladay, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:14 p.m.

    This one's going to be for Max. Utes 31 Koogies 10

  • IMDABOMB Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:36 p.m.

    Jake Heaps is the best QB in the state of Utah right now. He may be the best ever, only time will tell. I am SO sick and tired of hearing everyone so quick to criticize and downplay his talent and his ability.

    Lets not forget he is an 18 year old TRUE FRESHMAN! Who until halfway through the season was splitting reps with Riley Nelson. And through the first 5 games of the season, Heaps was plagued by dropped passes. Passes that hit receivers in the hands. It was not until SDSU that the offense showed up to play. And look at what BYU has done since. Only 1 loss to a #3 ranked TCU team.

    This has been a bumpy and frustrating year. But nobody should place that on Jake's shoulders.

    Maybe the Y fanbase should show some loyalty to a great young man and a great QB in the making. This kid chose to come to BYU over the likes of OU,LSU,and FSU. He's committed to us. Now lets show some commitment to him. I am embarrassed with the Y fanbase and the lack of support for Jake Heaps.

  • mosbyjim Vernal, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:28 p.m.

    Turkey on my plate! Then in my mouth!


  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:26 p.m.

    After reading your post, I went back and read the article again. I really don't see the "negative" comments from Doman that you state are in the article. In fact, if anything he is praising him and defending him against criticism, simply making the point "it takes time" to develop into a great QB and Heaps has shown great progress.
    Other QB's on the roster may have more experience and understanding of the offense, but that in itself does not a starting QB make. Although I will be the first to admit that Heaps had been cut a lot of slack when he was struggling in the first few games, and the 2QB system is puzzling to say the least, I doubt he was "cut a deal" to be the starter as a freshman. In retrospect I think they should have decided on starting Nelson early in fall camp and stuck with it. But it is what it is, and I think Heaps and the rest of the BYU team and coaches have rebounded remarkably.

  • LonestarRunner Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:03 p.m.

    Utah fans may want to tone down their anti-Heaps rhetoric until after the game.

    Wynn, supposedly, was capable of going toe-to-toe with Dalton and wasn't supposed to have any trouble facing a true freshman QB at Notre Dame.

    And we saw too complete meltdowns from the Poinsettia Bowl MVP.

    Heaps may play like a true freshman, or, Jake could have the type of performance that every Utah fan fears; conversly, so could Wynn.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    Based on Doman's statements it's harder than ever to understand why BYU would start Heaps from a football point of view. He's physically underdeveloped for sure and although his ability to see the field and make his reads have definitely improved, that was not the case the first half of the season. Both Lark and Nelson are much farther along physically and in their understanding of the offense.

    Based on this you have to believe certain promises and assurances were made in order to get Heaps to come to BYU. That would certainly explain the otherwise inexplicable decision to have Nelson and Heaps be co-starters. If that is the case, then there will be no true competition in the spring and the others should weigh their options.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    Doug, good to see you back on a sports column.

    You write that Max Hall struggled his sophomore year. Everyone should have such a struggle at 11-2...

  • optimist Sun City, CA
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    It is interesting that the press and the coaches can say things about a player, ie. a QB, and name that player, but a blogger can not say anything about a coach and get it printed if the coaches name is given.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:05 a.m.

    BYU by 2 TDs and I'm sending flowers for the memorial service of NC Utes 2010 at half-time.

  • optimist Sun City, CA
    Nov. 25, 2010 11:01 a.m.

    This is the last game of the season vs. our rival, Utah, and for us, perhaps the most important game of the season. I am still very dissapointed that instead of praising our genius 5 star QB, Jake Heaps, and pointing out that he has done far better at BYU as a freshman than anybody else in the history of BYU, and giving him added confidence to go out to Salt Lake City, and play for an upset and beat the Utes 31-30, the new reports are bating the QB coach to get negative comments about our QB and worse of all, Doman has taken the bate. Instead of showing absolute confidence in this 5 star player, he cast more shadows of doubt. Perhaps we need to look for another QB coach. (I have loved Doman as I watched him come trough the ranks, due to injuries, from the 3rd string to the starter). How many actual games did Doman play for SF 49ers or any other NFL team?---None.) Sorry Doman. You brought this onto yourself.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    I like this article in that it gives us a look into Doman's thinking. I think it falls short, however, in giving us an full honest evaluation of Heaps from the perspective of his QB coach.

    With temperature in the 20's and 30's, I predict that turnovers will determine the outcome of this game, and there will be more than a few. I think both defenses will play tough. This won't be a high scoring game.

  • Urpo Sherwood, OR
    Nov. 25, 2010 10:04 a.m.

    Wow. What does mark it down mean? Seems like a kid drawing something because he thinks then he will get his way.

    How do you know Heaps family has spent tons of money? Where did that come from? You are the first to say something like this. What are your sources. Are you family? And for your surety, how in the world do you thing 'some sort of promise' was made. Good grief. I have never seen anyone try to persuade using straw grasping.

    Just the luck of the draw that Heaps is playing this year? He has worked hard to get where he is. Maybe that is a better way of saying it. He was a sensation in high school. Maybe that is a better way of saying it.

    Anything Doman says, however, is right on. He ought to know; he was a pretty good qb himself.

  • OlpuebloguyInWyo Evanston, WY
    Nov. 25, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    Heaps, I have heard, is intending not to serve a mission. That his intent is to continue to start and eventually go to the NFL. His family has spent an enormous amount of money in camps, tutors, etc., and I am sure, received some sort of promises by the BYU coaching staff, otherwise this highly talented QB would have gone elsewhere. Several PAC-10 teams wanted him, we are. I think he is smarter than most actually know. He is picking things-up quite quicker than those great QB's of the past. Heaps, if he does not get injured, will surpass the expectations of all the 'naysayers'. If BYU was the NFL, Heaps would be the franchise player. And I think, by virtue of his starting role this year, is an indication to me that the other QB's are and will continue to be back-up's for some time. I'm just sayin'. Happy Thankgiving.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 8:43 a.m.

    While not stated in the article, ChrisB, Utah's wins have mostly been against teams with losing records. They squeaked by teams with winning records. I called it correctly on Utah's losses to TCU and Notre Dame, and they will once again struggle against a faith-based institution. BYU by two touchdowns!

  • Cougarista Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 7:50 a.m.

    Utah, but not Chris B., has learned that it is best to celebrate a victory, or the national championship, after you win, not before.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Nov. 25, 2010 7:34 a.m.

    Thanks, Chris B! Is that the stellar Utah defense we've seen the past three games?!?!?

    Nobody knows how good this BYU offense really is, based on the level of competition our past three games.

    What we do know is that the cougar defense has come together quite nicely and the Utah offense hasn't. I think predicting a bunch of Utah points is over inflated.

    Just remains to be seen how many points the Cougar offense can generate.

    My prediction?

    Utah 7
    BYU 27

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Nov. 25, 2010 7:04 a.m.

    Chris B: its marked.

    While I agree that Heaps still has much to learn, based on the Utes performance against the last three teams, I think you are overestimating their abilities. I predict this will be a much closer game. Although I hope that the cougs have gotten it together enough, especially on defense, to pull off the victory, I suspect that the Utes will get the win, 21-17.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 3:30 a.m.

    heaps really isn´t much of a departure.
    Remember John Walsh (he was hyped up even more than Heaps), Ty Detmer (one of the most exciting college qbs in the last couple decades) and Max Hall?

    These guys all played when they were young. Some did good things for the program and others didn´t.

    Heaps needs lots of improvement, but he has looked really good in some games, so Y fans should be excited about his future. They should encourage the young lad to go on a mission though.

  • hatchna Draper, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 2:49 a.m.

    Chris B again trolling BYU articles just waiting to be the first one to post.

    The one who's in for the rude awakening is Wynn. You thought he looked scared last year when he was getting pummeled all over the field, wait until he comes face to face with a Bronco coached defense that is much more aggressive with the pass rush. Wynn has demonstrated time and again that he crumbles under pressure. And he's going to have Kyle Van Noy in his face all day long along with Brandon Ogletree and Jordan Pendelton if he's healthy enough to go. Wynn is going to be scrambling for his life, and he is going to get buried. Heaps has become comfortable and will be poised on Saturday. BYU wins this one after Utah lays another TCU or ND like egg.

    BYU 31 Utah 10


  • mindgames Aurora, CO
    Nov. 25, 2010 1:09 a.m.

    Hey everybody Chris B is back with the 0% predictions. I've written it down on stone tablets 2 interceptions (or more)and ten points (or less) for the freshman quarterback. With that revelation I predict a different final score.

    BYU 9
    Utah 3

    What's the weather prediction?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 25, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    Heaps is about to get rocked.

    0% chance he throws less than 2 interceptions and leads the offense to more than 10 points.

    Utah 38
    tds 10


  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Nov. 24, 2010 11:07 p.m.

    Understatement of the Year Award goes to Jeff Call for writing, "McMahon... didn't serve a mission."