Good point! Use Nelson until BYU really need Heaps.
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.
who needs an arm when you've got flowing hair? I say go with RILEY!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Great insight Paul! It's nice to hear the opinions of forner Cougars! Thanks!
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
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
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
@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
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.
Go with Heaps. It entertains me to see the drama and losses he brings. Classic
Heaps has a stronger arm, but that means the receivers can't adjust to get to it
when it is off even slightly (comes in like a bullet) and he has been off a lot
more than slightly for most of the season. Riley throws it well enough and not
so fast that the receivers can't adjust to get to it as proven last Friday, plus
the guy can run and he has that "IT" leadership factor that all the
players have seemed to rally behind. If you don't go with Nelson and at least
give him a shot in the next game or two to show he can keep it up, you will have
a lot of fans lose faith in the coaching staff! Go Cougars!
I like to see other former QB insights. I always believe Lavell Edward does not
like freshmen/sophmore to be starters for QB position. He said young players
need to observe before taking the snap. Yes, he did start Ty Detmer very early
and it turned out the best thing he ever did. Of course Ty did made many
mistakes on his first game against Wyo in the air but he stuck with him after
that. My thought on SJSU - Heaps will start and if he failed again then Bronco
will insert Nelson right at the start of 2nd half.
I think Lark should get his shot. He looked good in fall practice and pushed
Riley for the backup. He runs well and is big and accurate. I think he should
get a shot. He is a combo of both and BYU thought at one point he was the guy
they wanted to recruit and not Riley. I feel bad for him since he now sits
Is this really a point of discussion? Nelson has more TD passes in 1/2 of
football that heaps put together in 3 games.
Talent vs. HeartThe only problem is Heaps can't access his talent at
the moment because he's in a "brain-fry". Call it Steve Sax Syndrome.
He's mentally fried...zero confidence. If you sit him, you probably condemn
him to the mental block for good. If you play him, it might take two years to
play out of it.I feel bad for the kid because I'm sure he'd do
anything he could to fix the problem. Play Riley until he gets hurt...because
he will get hurt running like a chicken with his head cut off. Then let Heaps
finish up. Plan on a 7-6 season and hope you're surprised with good things.
I'm going with Bronco. He knows the players involved, the needs for next
game/season and he has the responsibility for the call. Heaps does not have a
problem, his father does. Let him get over that and his talent will show
I agree, play Riley until he gets hurt. He's already banged up from last year,
if he keeps playing like this, he won't last the season. Too bonzai. Meantime, Heapes can watch and learn. Maybe run a series every now and then.
So Heaps had to play the hard part of the schedule and now you put Nelson in for
the patsies? Sounds fair to me.I'm afraid I don't trust the BYU
coaches to make the right decision here. In my opinion they have had a worse
year than Heaps. The play calling has been abysmal and they appear to have lost
the players at various points in the season.BYU isn't going anywhere
this year so they need to do whatever will make them better next year, whether
it means playing Heaps or Lark (Nelson is NOT the answer!)
There have been some comments made about the play calling of Brandon Doman as
being the problem. I'm not so sure. Look at what types of plays were being
called while Riley was in the game compared to when Heaps was in the game. I
don't beleive the play calling change much, I think it has more to do with the
confidence in the quarterback. Riley went out and made things happen where Jake
struggled due to his lack of confidence. The coach may call the plays but if the
quarterback does not exicute the play it can be perceived as the coach not
mixing it up and calling plays that will get the team moving. I say lets give
Coach Doman a break and see what happens under a new quarterback.
Four quarterbacks. Four quarters per game. Play each quarterback one quarter.
Start Heaps. Lark plays the second quarter. Munns plays the third quarter.
Then Riley comes in, changes it all up, and does his thing on a tired defense.
I don't get how so many people can say "bench Heaps for a few games and let
Nelson play." When would you bring back Heaps, when Riley struggles? Do you
really think eaither QB is going to struggle against their remaining schedule?
Whoever you put in now will likely be the starter for the rest of this year and
into next. So ask yourselves, who has the greater potential for wins against
next year's tough opponents? We've all seen what Nelson can (or can't do) and he
is not going to get any better. Heaps will. My vote is for the coaching staff to
stick with their committment to Heaps and use this easier schedule to help him
develope. The coaches need to demonstrate confidence in him during the tough
times if they expect him to have any confidence. He's not going to improve much
on the bench. In fact, I'd love to see Lark get a little playing time. Nelson
should only be used situationally. That's the only type of QB he will ever be.
One thing Riley has going for him is that he has Doman for his OC. Hear me out
on this one. Doman was a similar type player when he played. He was a gifted
runner more than a natural passer. When you can run it like Nelson can and Doman
did it opens up the pass because people have to respect all aspects of your
game. People cant just camp out in the secondary to defend the pass like they
did with Heaps in there. I would tend to believe Doman would have an easier
time coming up with successful plays that would be conducive to Nelsons style of
play based on their similarities
If every Ute poster, and every "new" BYU poster says Riley, I think we
should bend the other way, and stick with Heaps.Go with talent over
a huge heart, and weak ability.Riley would have had no shot at 4th
quarter heroics without the guys that hung in there for three quarters. Uteology
could have put on a helmet and did what Riley did.Bronko's weakness
is not saying. That's pretty weak, not standing behind your guy.But,
then, again, Utah is tearing up the PAC Xii....How many BCS team has
Utah beat this year?
I echo Paul Shoemakers insights. Riley deserves to play until he stubs his feet
whether that be a quarter or most of the season but as Paul surely indicated he
expects Jake to be a very good quarterback and be the qb.of the future as he
recognizes that he brings skills to the position that few quarterbacks have.
All you Nelson people will eat your words if BYU plays anyone with a decent
defense. Mr. scrambling QB got his clock handed to him by the Utes. The USU
defense is a proven lead blower. Then we will see the return of the hair
criticism once he starts coughing up the ball again. Lucky does not equal good.
Heaps was doing a great job...aside from the fumbles and interceptions and red
zone futility. Plus the BYU defense gives up a lot of offense to a freshman
quarterback n the WAC.
Aside from the dismal completion rating, turnovers, interceptions, fumbles etc.
Heaps was on fire, gotta love that one JohnJacobjingleHeimerSchmidt.
Nice article.It doesn't matter which one starts against SJSU. This
one is a BYU win no matter who plays. So the question is, who are you trying to
make the foundation of your team.Riley did a legendary job in
leading the cougs back against Utah State. He would likely do a nice job against
Idaho, Idaho State, and New Mexico State as well. The question is who gives you
a better shot against the good teams.I think that's Heaps.Heaps will get his confidence back putting up late-2010-like numbers against
the Spartans.But if Bronco goes with Nelson, he'll keep the fan base
until Riley chokes on the road against a winless Beaver team. Patience or desparation?It's up to you coach.
Riley deserves the start, he earned it. If he struggles, after two quarters if
they have not scored more than Heaps season average... Then give someone else a
I think BYU's comeback says more about the rest of the BYU team than it does
about the quarterback. Where was the effort during the first part of the game?
How could the receivers suddenly make spectacular catches? How could the line
suddenly open holes?I'm more disappointed in the lack of effort by
the rest of the team than in the quarterback play. And if you say it's a matter
of leadership, then where are the veteran leaders who should be able to motivate
other to play hard from the start.I'm glad we won, but will still be
doubtful until I see a better overall TEAM effort.
I really can't stand these insight article from former Cougars. No disrespect
intended to them personally, but who cares what they think? And as much as I
respect Vai and like his style can the Des News find writers instead of players
from BYU's past? It bores me.
BYU and the fans and coaches have a dilenma to solve. One quarterback with a big
arm but fear in his eyes, and the other who charges into freight trains. Maybe
they should be training each other with the aid of psychologists.
Whatever the coaches decide, a rotating QB system doesn't work! It's either
Heaps or Nelson as the starter. Up until being blindsided and fumbling during
the Utah game, Nelson was moving the ball effectively, something Heaps hadn't
been doing with any consistency at any point during that game. Whatever
supposed shortcomings Nelson may have he more than makes up for with with his
fierce gutsy playmaking which inspires and elevates the play of all his
teammates! How long will Heaps be a 'work in progress?' Nelson's maturity and
fearless, competitive spirit more than compensate for any supposed superior
skills Heaps may possess. Does anyone really believe for a second we'd have
beaten USU last friday night with Heaps lined up behind center on the 2-yard of
that final winning drive? Perfectly thrown spirals do not win games! Let
Nelson at least start and finish this next game, he's earned that much!
@perplexed"Go with Riley - after the haircut."No don't, the hair is the source of his power; he's like samson.
Go with Rley. Bring Heaps in occasionally until his confidence and ability on
the field dictate that he should be th full time.
Thanks for the article and insight, Mr. Shoemaker. I remember calling out your
name in games (along with hundreds of fans), hoping the coach would put you in
instead of Feterick. Alas, it didn't happen. Wonder how different that season
would have been. But, we're very glad you didn't go on to an NFL career and
even gladder that you are where you are, giving good commentary on BYU football.
it does'nt matter because we're so good we will win no matter what.
IF you look back at BYU history you will find a slew of QB's that didn't have a
great arm. McMahon's passes fluttered, Detmer, Young, Feterik, Sarkasian,
Wilson also. So what. What makes the difference is the fire that all these
guys had in their gut. Heaps seems to lack that fire and competitive spirit.
Feterik was a waste. Shoemaker should have started that season.I
agree. Let Wiley Riley start until he blows it, then bring in Heaps or ?
Yeah, but which one can perform at the Friday night firesides?
San Jose State is no pushover. They've won two in a row and if Heaps plays like
he has, BYU could easily lose to SJSU just like they almost lost to USU. Nelson
plays for BYU to win, Heaps plays for Heaps.
Hold on there about the San Jose prediction. I'd say BYU better watch out for
them with either QB. That is BYU's problem a lot. An inflated sense of
Absolutely bang on and starting Nelson is the "only" right thing to
do. Anything else is wrong. If Heaps is the future then he will take ownership
of the team and blame himlelf for the two losses, rather than pinning the blame
on the lack of a running game. He will pin the blame solely on himself as the
leader and move on. Nelson's arm may be a lot better than you think
though as his TD pass to Apo might not be a fluke and there was enough zing to
avoid the interception in the endzon which thankfully turned into another albeit
Last year Shoemaker wrote a similar article, with the conclusion that Riley
should back into the sunset and Jake should be the unquestioned starter.He cited pretty much the same stories of his abbreviated playing time to
reach that conclusion last year.
I would love to see Lark get some playing time....PLEASE! They say Lark was
very impressive in fall camp.
Truth is, without a running game, neither of these QB's will be able to throw
the ball with any success. And you shouldn't rely on your QB to do your running.
Doman is responsible for both the poor running game and passing
game. Doman may not be throwing the ball, but he is designing the
plays and the routes. Because of Doman both the passing game and the running
game are suffering. You put all the blame on Heaps, but he only passes the ball.
And there are four running backs not accomplishing anything. The one thing in
common between the two is Doman.
@BlueSaintSorry, I saw Riley on campus this morning. It looks like
the locks are gone. Hopefully, we won't see a Samson-esque fall.
The first offensive play on Saturday goes like this - both Jake and Riley start,
Jake hands off or throws to Riley, Riley runs or passes. You start them both.
Look at the passes Riley threw last week, maybe one was spot on target if that.
The last touchdown the pass was thrown behind JJ, he was lucky that the hail
marry was not picked off.
How do not start Riley ? The message you send to the team is that we play the
coach's favorite, the player with all the publicity, not the kid who has earned
the spot by out preforming the kid in front of him. This is a slippery slope,
but it does not need to be one. You start the kid who beat out the starer it is
RE: RGDude the other players do not like to be made the reason why
Heaps is ineffective.It is never cool to throw your team mates under
the bus. Heaps has been weighed and measured and he comes up wanting.Sorry Heaps lovers another over rated High School wonder boy that did not
stack up to reality.Can you say Ben Olsen.
Sure a lot of Ute trolls begging for Nelson, which should be a sure indicator
for quite the opposite.Nelson's flutter passes and tipped touchdowns
are not exactly a fixed formula for success. IMNSHO, start Heaps.
Just sayin' . . .
I think it's funny when people say things like, "Give the ball to the
talent," meaning Heaps. He may be "the talent" on paper and he
may have been very successful in high school, but he's not working out in the
real world, on the real field, where it counts! So I don't care how much
supposed talent or potential he has. I do know that there's NO WAY he could
have pulled off that 96-yard scoring drive with 2:38 to go in the game. NO WAY.
It just wouldn't have happened with him. However Nelson did it, or however
much luck was involved, he still did it. He still pulled off the comeback. I'm also baffled when people say that Heaps is the future of the team.
He only has two more years, and he doesn't have it together yet! I say let
Nelson be the starter for the remainder of this season and next, and then let
Heaps start his senior year. Or redshirt him next year and he can play for 2
years after Nelson is done. Maybe he'll be ready by then and have more than