Posts Tagged ‘Jake Heaps’

BYU guard Jimmer Fredette drives against a Vermont defender in Glens Falls, N.Y.

SPORTS: Podcast: Year-End Wrap-Up, BYU Football Bowl Preview

Written by Ben Wagner on . Posted in Sports

And so it ends. Ben Wagner is back from England — just in time for Jake Welch and Preston Johnson to fill him in on all the sports action he missed in the last PB&J Report of the year. The guys talk about BYU football’s disappointing season (including a preview of this Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl match-up with UTEP), BYU basketball’s promising start, the NBA, MLB and just about every significant sporting event of the last four months. If you were in a coma (or out of the country) for this fall’s whirlwind sports season, this week’s episode should get you pretty much caught up in time for the start of 2011. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 032 — The PB&J Report (2010.12.17)

Jake Heaps 2

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU-Utah Recap, BYU Basketball Update, Derek Anderson Freaks Out

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Sports

Harrowed by the memory of last Saturday’s Holy War loss, the PB&J Report crew reflect on the somewhat disappointing BYU football season that was 2010 — and look forward with hope to the impending era of “Big Game” Jake Heaps. Meanwhile, the BYU basketball team is winning ugly, but winning nonetheless. What does the future hold for Jimmer Fredette and the boys as they prepare to tackle some high-profile non-conference opponents? And why does it seem Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson is always freaking out on ESPN? You can find all this and more on this week’s PB&J Report. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 030 — The PB&J Report (2010.12.01)

BYU Utah

SPORTS: 48 Hours Later: BYU-Utah

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

A delayed flight from LAX to Salt Lake City due to a blizzard, unable to locate my car in the airport parking lot due to the same blizzard, driving over an hour at 20-30 mph over the 20 miles from the airport to Sandy due to the same blizzard, having to pull off the road and stay in a Comfort Inn over night because I could not make it home due to the same blizzard, and an awful first day back at school after an infinitely better and warmer Thanksgiving break in Southern California later, I can now sit down to reminisce about the BYU-Utah football game that took place about 48 hours ago.

Stats that need to be thrown around:

1) BYU’s record under Bronco Mendenhall when leading after three quarters prior to Saturday’s BYU-Utah game?  48-1. Last loss was in 2005 vs. TCU in overtime, 50-51.

2) Not since BYU’s 23-20 overtime loss to Boston College in 2006 had the Cougars lost a game decided by 7 points or fewer. That is absurd.

3) Bronco Mendenhall’s November record?  20-3 — all losses to Utah (2005, 2008, 2010).

4) Jake Heaps on Saturday: 22/37 passing for 228 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception.  Utah’s Wynn/Cain QB combo: 15/37 passing for 207 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions.

If you were to ask me who won this game after hearing about the QB play and BYU’s 13-0 lead entering the fourth quarter (especially after seeing Bronco’s career stats in that regard), I would have picked BYU 100 times out of 99. No typo there — I would have been that sure of it.

So how is it that Utah pulled out the victory over BYU 17-16 last Saturday? Was I dreaming? What does this mean for the future of each program and the rivalry? Knowing I probably needed a weekend to think this game over and let it settle in so that I am not overly biased toward BYU and a few suspect plays that occurred late in the game, I decided to wait till today to address these questions.

Unfortunately for Ute fans, it has only gotten worse.

My response in regards to how in the world Utah got the victory on Saturday? Luck, fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it. I will call it luck. There were four particular plays that prove this to be a valid conclusion:

1) Early in the fourth quarter with Utah trailing 13-3, the great Jordan Wynn threw up a bomb down the sideline to DeVonte Christopher. The only problem with this play was that BYU’s Brandon Bradley was all over Christopher. In fact, his coverage was so good that he was able to deflect the ball… right into Christopher’s hands for a touchdown.

2) Following a BYU field goal that put the Cougars up 16-10 with about 7 minutes left in the game, the Utes needed to drive 80-plus yards to score a touchdown. Three brilliant defensive plays later from BYU (or three terrible Jordan Wynn balls that missed receivers by a mile — however you wish to look at it, I look at it both ways), Utah was forced to punt in hopes that their defense could get a stop and give their offense another chance to win the game. Fortunately for the Utes, they shanked a punt about 20 yards that happened to find the leg of a BYU player who was blocking a few yards from the sideline.  The Utes recovered the fumble and got the ball back with great field position and plenty of time on the clock.

3) Two stellar Jordan Wynn passes later, Brandon Bradley intercepted a pass that, in my opinion, was thrown to one of three BYU defenders, not a Ute wide receiver. The instant I saw Bradley intercept the pass I stood up off my couch and yelled at him four or five times to GET DOWN. The last thing I wanted was the Utes to catch some lucky break and have Bradley fumble the ball he had just intercepted right back to Utah. Of course, he fumbled the ball right back to Utah.

4) Fortunately for Cougar fans, after seeing the replay of this specific fumble mentioned above, we had no need to fear as it was very clear Bradley’s knee was on the ground well before the Utah player forced the fumble. I was not even sweating it. I had no doubt. Three different camera angles, almost a full second of knee-ground contact before the ball was stripped, no problem. BYU ball, 100 times out of 98. Interestingly enough though, despite the advantage of video replay — in slow motion, viewed multiple times — the booth review official ruled the play a fumble, and the Utes were given the ball. At that point there was no question, they were going to score. They did, and won the game 17-16. BYU was not meant to win this game.

To the Ute fans that want to argue that this was actually not luck, I want to ask them what the odds are of Bradley deflecting a perfectly played ball upwards right to the falling Christopher for a touchdown. I want to know what the odds are of the Ute punter shanking one of many punts he kicked all game directly off the BYU player’s leg with such impeccable timing. I want to know the odds that an interception is fumbled right back to the same team that had just turned the ball over — in the same play.

I looked this one up to help you out. It is less than 2 percent.

I want to know, first, the odds that the review booth official assigned to this BYU/Utah game did not have a brain, and then, second, the odds that despite clear evidence the play should be reversed, he decided to call the play as stands. How many times has this happened? Two or three maybe? Ever? Then, after all is said and done and you have calculated the precise numbers in each of these situations, I want you to tell me the odds that they all happen, in the same game, in the same quarter, benefiting the same team. I am 100 percent serious. I want a number.

Aside from dwelling on the past, I decided it would be better for me to take what I learned from this game and figure out what it means for the future of the programs at BYU and Utah. I was not being sarcastic throughout the entire article in reference to Jordan Wynn by accident. If he is the future of the Utah football program at quarterback, then the move to the Pac-12 next season could be a brutal one. He has yet to blossom into a QB that you can trust and that can make big plays, and he definitely has not shown up for any big games (see TCU, Notre Dame, BYU).

I do not and will never blame Utah for bailing on the Mountain West Conference to accept the Pac-12 invitation and, despite the attitude of the majority of this article, I actually will root for Utah to do well in the Pac-12 and represent the MWC and smaller schools in the best way they possibly can. Unfortunately for them, however, I do not foresee anything great in the near future.

BYU, in my opinion, has a much brighter future. The way Jake Heaps played Saturday in his first ever BYU-Utah rivalry game, and considering it was at Rice-Eccles Stadium, was impressive to say the the least. Even after the Cougars found themselves down one point with a couple minutes to go and after two absurd play calls from Robert Annae to start the potentially game-winning drive, Heaps stepped up and looked as poised and composed as any quarterback in the nation playing at any level. His arm is there, his accuracy is there, the IQ is there — but what I had not seen prior to this game was how he would perform in crunch time.

He stepped up. Big time.

Oh yeah, I do not think I mentioned this either, he is still a 19-year-old true freshman.  The independent schedule that BYU will face in the near future will make it tough to win every game, but one thing I do not doubt is that Jake Heaps gives the Cougars the best chance to do just that.

Many people are wondering what will happen to the BYU-Utah rivalry. I personally do not think it is going anywhere. Yes, it is true that both schools have parted ways and left the MWC, but if last Saturday’s game showed us one thing, it is that both schools — players and fans united — care about this game more than any other. I do not see that changing whether they meet in November or September.

To end, I would like to share one last final stat, perhaps the best of them all:

1) BYU-Utah in the last 15 years: 12 games decided by 7 points or less, the most by any two teams that have faced one another in the nation.

I learned that this is what counts. This is what the rivalry is all about.

Who Will Dish Out the Hate Speech This Year?

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

As we get closer and closer to game time, there is one question that should most definitely be on our minds. I know for a fact that someone is going to fill the shoes of Max Hall and dish out some hate speech after tomorrow’s game. The only thing we are left to wonder is who it will be. Let’s take a look at the possible candidates.

Bronco Mendenhall

I know most of you think there is no way that Bronco would ever spout off on the U., but you never do know. I know he will never admit it, but every defensive coordinator has a little crazy in them. Just look at other defensive-minded head coaches, namely Nebraska’s Bo Pelini and Arizona’s Mike Stoops. Bronco doesn’t seem like he is capable of a complete and utter meltdown like Pelini had last week, but you better believe that he gets fired up. ODDS: Did hell freeze over yet? No? OK then. Not happening. 1,000,000,000,000,000-1

Travis Uale

I have a good feeling about this guy because he used to play for the Utes back in 2005. Well, he didn’t actually play for them, but he did redshirt and practice with the team. I could see him going up to the podium and making a very logical case for his hate because, after all, he was there to experience the school for himself and, therefore, has the credibility to make a reasonable judgment. This would also open the door for Kyle Whittingham to say a few things about BYU, seeing that he spent his playing days here in Provo. ODDS: I bet he has some beef that he wants to get off of his chest. 8-1

O’Neill Chambers

For some reason I have a feeling that our ole pal O’Neill could come out of nowhere and surprise us by saying some hateful words about BYU. He is still here in the state of Utah finishing up his classes, so it could happen. How about this for a hypothetical? Maybe he decides to come up to SLC for the game for fun and Sammy Linebaugh from The Mountain finds him in the stands wearing a Florida Gators hoodie. She figures it would be insightful reporting if she asked him a few questions about his former team and heads into the stands. O’Neill tries a few spin moves to get away from her but, as we all know, the vaunted spin fails him. Frustrated by his attempts to get away, he gets caught up in the moment and unleashes a substantial amount of profanity, which not only gets The Mountain in all kinds of trouble but also makes for the most awkward moment in television history. ODDS: For those of you who are going to the game, you might want to set this one to record on your DVR. This might just happen. 2-1

Jake Heaps

Ever since he has been allowed to speak into a microphone at the BYU press conferences, Heaps has pretty much said all the right things. The way he talks about execution and preparation makes you wonder if Bronco has threatened to take away his dining privileges if he said anything besides those two words. There is a chance, however, that Max Hall personally contacted Heaps and told him that he needed to carry on the tradition of excellence. With this being Jake’s first Holy War, he just might go against Bronco’s wishes and unleash hellfire and damnation from the postgame podium. ODDS: This will actually happen next year after Jake’s parents get drenched with beer during this year’s game. 30-1

Matt Reynolds

I want to say there has never been an offensive lineman that has used hate speech in the Holy War. Defensive linemen have been guilty many times, but not those guys on offense. Pre-season All-American Matt Reynolds just might be the guy to buck the trend. I could see a Utah defensive player questioning his toughness after he gets hurt for the 377th time this season. He would then decide to grow a pair, live up to his All-American billing and then talk some trash after the game. Trust me when I say that the Reynolds brothers are capable of a mean streak. One of them may or may not have accidentally punched me in the face during drills at BYU football camp when I was 13. (I got over it quickly after LaVell Edwards handed me an ice pack and called me son. That was about as close as I came to playing BYU football. Those were the glory days.) ODDS: Pretty sure they don’t let people over 300 lbs speak in the postgame press conference. 300-1

Andrew Rich

I just got done reading a lovely article about how Andrew Rich’s brother is a huge Utah fan. That would make it really tough for Rich to replicate Max’s performance from last year. I can see it now. “I don’t like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, I hate their fans, I hate their… wait. I actually don’t hate my brother, who is a big Utah fan. He’s a pretty good guy. I actually don’t mind their coaches either. I played a round of golf with Whittingham during the summer and I took his daughter out on a few dates. I guess I just hate their alumni.” ODDS: This guy is pretty much Bronco Mendenhall reincarnated. There is no way he slings any hate. Unless he actually did date Whittingham’s daughter and it ended badly. 500-1

Matt Marshall

I find it very interesting that one of the more insignificant individuals on the BYU football team happens to be the most arrogant. I actually shouldn’t say that. He came up huge on two fake punts and has done a great job holding extra points. That said, it seems like every single game I see Matt get in someone’s face to talk at little trash. Marshall is also from the SLC area so I’m sure he has plenty of beef with some folks up on the hill. If he does decide to run his mouth, let’s hope tsomeone with a little more substance, like Terrance Brown, will have his back. I’m afraid of what someone might do to the little guy. ODDS: I’m taking this bet to the bank. Well, to Vegas first, then the bank. 2-5

Jordan Pendleton

Correct me if I am wrong, but JP might be the scariest person alive. He has this look in his eye that screams, “I’M SO FREAKING CRAZY! I WILL EAT YOU!” You think I’m kidding, but I’ve seen it. I nearly wet myself. Anyhow, nobody knows if he is going to play in this week’s game, but I’m going to say he will tough it out and suit up. It seems as if BYU coaches have done their best in keeping JP away from the media, but I think after this game a reporter will shove a microphone in his face and he will go crazy and let the hate spew from his mouth. ODDS: He’ll probably eat Matt Asiata’s leg instead. 50-1

Heaps vs. Wynn

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

On behalf of everyone here at Rhombus Magazine, we hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Now, let’s talk football.

In my last post, I talked about how BYU and Utah have very similar offenses. One of the things that I mentioned was that both teams have young quarterbacks that are either feast or famine. Like everything else with these two teams, the two quarterbacks weren’t even comparable a few weeks into the season. Now, with most of the season gone, the two signal-callers are on the same playing field.

The only significant difference between these two has been their individual progression. Jordan Wynn performed very well in his first five games, despite missing action against UNLV and New Mexico with a thumb injury. However, in the last few games, he has been a model for inconsistency. Jake Heaps, on the other hand, started out the season looking like a wide-eyed 18 -year-old, throwing for only one touchdown and six interceptions. Since then, Heaps has hit gangbusters, tossing nine TD passes and one INT.

How do they stack up in each phase of the game? Who will have the better game on Saturday? Let’s take a look.

Mechanics

You are going to be hard pressed to find a quarterback that has better throwing motion and footwork than Jake Heaps. His fine tuned mechanics propelled him to be one of the highest-rated quarterbacks coming out of high school. He was groomed in spread systems and came to BYU without many, if any, flaws. Jordan Wynn isn’t horrible with his mechanics, but lately he has started to sling the ball around and throw off of his back foot. He looked a lot better in the game against San Diego State, but who knows if he can have a repeat performance. ADVANTAGE: Heaps

Accuracy

Both of these quarterbacks have proven this year that they are able to make all of the throws to all parts of the field, but neither has been consistent in doing so. Heaps didn’t really find his touch until as of late. In his last three games, he has a completion percentage of 63 percent and has started to establish a connection with wide receivers Cody Hoffman and Luke Ashworth. Wynn has a better overall completion percentage, in large part due to his improvement in throwing further downfield. BYU fans will remember last year when Wynn had multiple opportunities to hit a wide-open receiver downfield but failed to connect. Expect him to have a few more completions over 40 yards this time around. ADVANTAGE: Tie

Decision-making

If anyone remembers the Utah State game from earlier this year, you will remember Jake Heaps throwing two interceptions and four other passes that also should have been picked. A lot has changed since that game, but even in the last few contests there have been multiple passes that should have been intercepted. For most of the year Jordan Wynn has done what he needed to do to get the win. He doesn’t try to force the ball or throw into high-risk areas. The only time I see him getting into trouble is when the defense gets in his face. Then again, what quarterback isn’t flustered by a good pass rush? ADVANTAGE: Wynn

Experience

There is no question that Jordan Wynn has more experience in that he has started and played in more games than Jake Heaps, but, of the two, who has played tougher opponents and performed better under pressure? Heaps has had all of his success this season against the riffraff of the Mountain West. He did beat San Diego State as the starter but he didn’t have to do much as the running game took care of business. Wynn looked like an All-American last year in the bowl game against Cal and was lights-out against Pitt and SDSU. You might not know which Jordan Wynn will show up but he has shown that if he is on, he can beat good opponents. ADVANTAGE: Wynn

Swagger

There is no question that Jake Heaps has ridiculous amounts of confidence. I remember watching him get thrown around like a little rag doll against Florida State, but never at any time did he look like he was shaken. He may look like he is still 12 years old, but he is playing with the swagger of a veteran. Jordan Wynn is the exact opposite. That game against SDSU might have helped him, but I’m not sure he is fully recovered from the booing he had to endure in their last home game. You can just tell by his body language that he is unsure of himself. ADVANTAGE: Heaps

Who will have the better game?

It’s really hard to say at this point who is going to have a better game. Jake Heaps has been on the rise but is still very young and makes rookie mistakes. Jordan Wynn can get the job done but his confidence has been shaky (not a reference to Utah punt returner Shaky Smithson) the past few games.

When it comes right down to it, I look at the defense of each team. BYU has been playing stellar defense since Bronco Mendenhall took over. However, the Cougars haven’t been tested since SDSU. Also, BYU’s defense is infamous for letting no-name Utah quarterbacks have huge games. (See Brett Ratliff.)

Utah is playing at home and Kyle Whittingham always has his defense prepared. Sure, they gave up big numbers to the Aztecs last week, but they still have the talent to shut down BYU.

PREDICTION: Wynn will have the better game.

Keeping It Balanced

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

I’m going to describe the offense of a certain football team and you try and figure which team I am talking about. This team is a run first offense that relies on multiple running backs to grind it out on the ground. They have a young quarterback who has been either feast or famine most of the year and wide receivers that aren’t amazing play makers but have their moments. The offensive line is the real star unit of this team as they clear holes for the run game and provide near-perfect protection for their quarterback.

Starting to sound familiar? Of course this sounds like the offense of BYU but it is also a very accurate reading of Utah’s offensive situation. Utah has put up a lot more points that BYU, but both teams operate in an eerily similar fashion.

If you know anything about football, you know the best kind of offense is a balanced offense. As people yuck it up this week about the big game, there is no doubt this topic will be thrown around in conversations. Allow me to put a little twist on things as we talk about offensive balance.

There is no doubt that BYU’s offense has been the dictionary definition of balanced in their offensive attack in the last few games. Let’s take a look at the splits in total yardage.

BYU v. UNLV- 300 yards passing, 216 rushing

BYU v. CSU- 242 passing, 284 rushing

BYU v. New Mexico- 236 passing, 258 rushing

There is no doubt that if the Cougars want to win on Saturday, they will need to run the ball and run it well. Aside from simply running the ball, they need to get good mileage from each running back. J.J. DiLuigi has been fairly consistent, especially in the early going when he averaged over 100 yards of total offense per game. The key to the offense will be the performance of Bryan Kariya and Joshua Quezada.

In the first five games of the season, Quezada and Kariya were anything but effective as they ran for 130 yards total. That’s not a misprint. After Robert Anae realized that throwing the ball 50+ times a game was going to get him fired, these two got a few more carries. And not only did they get more carries, but they made the most of them.

In the next game against San Diego State, Quezada and Kariya doubled their total yardage on the year as they ran for 50 and 85 yards, respectively. Since the meltdown that was the TCU game, the tandem has averaged over 120 yards on the ground per game.  If they can combine for over 100 yards and DiLuigi can get his 60+ yards against the Utes on Saturday, things will be looking up for the Cougars.

The ground game will face a difficult task as they go against the 10th best rushing defense in the country. If BYU can find a way to crack Utah’s front seven then they will be able to open things up in the passing game. Usually Utah has a strong passing defense but that was disproved as SDSU torched their secondary for 528 yards. This is great news for Jake Heaps and the passing attack. Heaps can have a big game as long as the running backs are doing their part.

When it comes right down to it, if BYU can stay balanced, they can win.

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU-Nevada Preview, Mid-week Update

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Sports

The PB&J Report boys get together for another mid-week report on the state of BYU football — an especially grim task following the Cougars’ second-straight loss. Tune in for a recap of all the embarrassing action from last week’s trip to Tallahassee and a look forward at this weekend’s contest with the high-flying Nevada Wolf Pack. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 025 — The PB&J Report (2010.09.22)

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU-Washington Preview

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Sports

After many long months, the beginning of the college football season is finally upon us, which means the PB&J Report boys are back in business with their favorite topic — BYU football. The crew breaks down this year’s team and looks ahead to this weekend’s season opener against the Washington Huskies in what is sure to be the first of many football-centric podcasts this fall. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 022 — The PB&J Report (2010.09.04)

Nelson Heaps Lark

SPORTS: The Beginning of the (Insert New QB Here) Era

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Sports

Now that the basketball team has made its exit from the NCAA tournament, Cougar fans have shifted their focus to what looks to be one of the most intense quarterback competitions in recent BYU history. Simply put, Riley Nelson is the veteran, Jake Heaps is the newcomer and James Lark is the wild card. (Jason Munns will join them in the fall, but I’m saying right now that there is no way he makes a crack at the top of the depth chart.)

There is a good case for any of these three to take the reins at QB next season — and another one for why they shouldn’t. Who will it be? Read the arguments below and you make the call.

Riley Nelson

Why he will start: If there is anything we can observe from the Bronco Mendenhall era, it’s that when it comes down to making a position decision he will go with leadership and experience. Nelson’s biggest advantage is that he has been with the program for a full year as a backup to Max Hall. He has plenty of reps in the system and even got some significant mop-up minutes. The offensive system that is in place right now isn’t the most complicated, but having experience counts for a lot.

Aside from his familiarity, Nelson is the most mobile of the three quarterbacks. Scouts will tell you that he doesn’t have the best physical tools, but he just makes plays. If you watched him play in any of the games last year, you saw that he wasn’t a speedster, but he was able to take draws and option plays for good chunks of yardage. The last time the Cougars had a dual threat QB was back in 2001 when Brandon Doman lead one of the most dangerous offenses in recent history and, like Doman, Nelson will have an all-conference back to help carry the load.

Why he won’t: There is no question that Nelson lacks the arm strength to make all the throws that are required in the offense. He has a very slow left-handed delivery and his accuracy pales in comparison to Max Hall. While he did a great job running draw plays, he struggled to hit receivers running basic routes. About half of his throws look good, while the other half resemble wounded ducks. A good example of this came in the Wyoming game where a fade route pass fell dangerously short and was easily picked off. Offensive coaches would have to seriously adjust the playbook to make it more Nelson-friendly. I’m hoping that after another year of practice and throwing drills he will be able to hone his accuracy but, based on what we saw last season, Nelson could be the worst passer in the group.

Jake Heaps

Why he will start: This kid is a winner. Period. Looking at his high school pedigree makes me sick because I only had one winning season. This kid had three, two of which were perfect. In fact, the only game he ever lost was to California high school powerhouse Oaks Christian. For those keeping score, he was 31-1 overall and a staggering 3-0 in state championship games. I don’t care where you play, those numbers are ridiculous.

The reason why he was so dominant is the fact that he has confidence oozing out his ears. He is the dictionary definition of swagger. Just look up any YouTube video and you will notice something different about Heaps. He takes control of the game with the poise and leadership of a college upperclassman. You’d think he would stay quiet once he came to BYU and became a lowly freshman, but on his signing day he talked national championships. If anything, the coaches should play him just to see if he does have a ceiling. I haven’t even mentioned his clockwork consistency and needle-threading accuracy. He doesn’t throw the deep ball with ease, but everything else about his game is completely polished. Heaps is the player you absolutely hate as an opposing fan because of his arrogance — and the fact that he can back it up.

Why he won’t: Even if Heaps is one of the most decorated high school quarterbacks this year, history tells us that true freshman quarterbacks don’t have a whole lot of success. Just look at USC’s Matt Barkley and Michigan’s Tate Forcier. Both QB’s burst onto the scene with impressive wins in the beginning of the season but soon faded into mediocrity. Ohio State quarterback Terelle Pryor played a significant role in his freshman season, but didn’t realize his full potential until his performance in the Rose Bowl. It takes a lot for a kid to come into a big-time Division I program, especially one like BYU because of the school’s reputation for quarterback excellence. It is no secret that BYU is only as good as their quarterback. To have that kind of pressure and expectation thrust upon you at such a young age could be costly. If Bronco sees that Heaps isn’t 100 percent ready to be the team leader, then he won’t give him that responsibility.

James Lark

Why he will start: For a guy who seems to be lost in all the media hype of Heaps and Nelson, James Lark easily has the biggest arm out of the three and that alone could give him the job. While his high school numbers are comparable to those of Nelson (both are tied for the Utah state record for touchdown passes at 79), there is no comparison in arm strength. He can make accurate throws to all parts of the field with ease — something the other two can’t do.

Also, very few will recall this, but Lark was a prized recruit coming out of high school. He came to football camps in Provo and wowed coaches with his arm and had an offer on the table early from the Cougars. Due to a limited number of scholarships they weren’t able to offer Nelson. Lark didn’t have the numbers that Nelson did because he wasn’t nearly as talented, but BYU saw his ability to throw the 35-yard post pattern on a rope. And don’t assume that he is immobile. In his junior year, he racked up 650 yards and 7 TD’s on the ground. If the coaches are looking for a QB that can make all the throws, then this is their man.

Why he won’t: Like I said earlier, most of the attention for the QB spot is between Heaps and Nelson. There might be a good reason for that. Lark just got back from a mission and it takes a while for a player to get back into playing shape and mentality. Just look at the basketball team’s Jackson Emery. Last year, he played a significant role but didn’t really look comfortable until about mid-season. It will take most of spring and fall camp for Lark to shake off the rust, which is also the time the he needs to be proving he is best at his position.

Also, just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you will translate into a successful player. Just look at former UCLA (and, briefly, BYU) QB Ben Olsen, who was widely considered to be the best player in the 2002 signing class. Many cite Olsen’s constant struggle with injuries that led to his demise, but even when healthy he could never live up to expectations. As for Lark, we just don’t know if he is a proven winner.