November 1, 2011

BYU's QB Conundrum

What to do about BYU's quarterback situation?

With three games left in the regular season Cougar coaches should be thinking very seriously about installing Jake Heaps back into the starting line up.

Why?

It's simple.

BYU is going to end 2011 in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 30th against a team from Conference USA no matter what happens the rest of the season. And regardless of which quarterback coaches roll out onto the field, the Cougars should be able to finish the regular season with wins against the likes of Idaho, New Mexico State and a struggling Hawaii team.

BYU is going to get to nine or 10 wins regardless of whether Heaps or Riley Nelson finish out the season as the starter.

What the Cougars are really doing at this point is building and preparing for 2012 and beyond when the schedule steps up considerably in difficulty.

So the question that must be answered is: Which of the two quarterbacks gives BYU the best chance to win next year with road games at Georgia Tech, Boise State, Utah and Notre Dame?

From a talent standpoint, the answer is obviously Heaps. While it's true that he has certainly struggled this season, he is the one quarterback on the roster that possesses NFL talent.

BYU needs Heaps to reach a good measure of his potential if the Cougars expect to reach their potential as a team over the next two years.

2013 has been the year BYU faithful have been pointing to since Jake Heaps arrived on campus. The schedule that season is one that should give BYU a chance to make real noise with Texas, Georgia Tech and Boise State set to visit LaVell Edwards Stadium in what would be Heaps' senior season.

Bronco Mendenhall has said from the beginning that the goal at BYU is to compete for and win a national title. 2013 is his best opportunity to date to make that happen.

If coaches continue to start Riley Nelson through the end of the year, they are sending the definite message that Nelson will enter the 2012 season as the starter. That could well put Heaps in the position of having to make the difficult decision of redshirting or transferring next year. BYU would be wise to not put Heaps in that spot.

Jake has had the chance to stand on the sideline and learn the past four games. He has had the opportunity to stand back and figure some things out in his head. Games against Idaho State and New Mexico State sandwiched by bye weeks is the perfect time to get the sophomore back on his feet and on the road to regaining his confidence.

If he is the future at quarterback as coaches have indicated, then that future needs to be resuscitated right now. It's time to get him get him coached up, pumped up and back out on the field of battle where he can fight through whatever he needs to fight through and have the opportunity to develop his game.

There are nine weeks of practice between now and the Armed Forces Bowl, that's two months worth of prepping for games as a starter. It's precious time to for Heaps and BYU to build for the future.


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