Posts tagged Jake Heaps
Much has been written about BYU’s bold move into the realm of college football independence since last summer when the university announced it was leaving the Mountain West Conference. At first, most pundits thought it was a suicidal move for the Cougars, but as A.D. Tom Holmoe methodically cobbled together the program’s first indy season schedule with the help of broadcast partner ESPN, perceptions slowly began to change.
It’s a much stronger schedule than what they’d face if they were still in the MWC.
BYU’s 2011 schedule starts impressively – on the road at Mississippi and Texas, then back home for Utah, Central Florida and Utah State. Three additional tough road games are tossed into the mix with Oregon State, TCU and Hawaii. Technically, the TCU game is considered to be at a neutral site – Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Fort Worth. This game is minutes from the Horned Frog campus and it’s considered a neutral site? Right.
The rest of the Cougar schedule features Idaho, Idaho State, New Mexico State, and San Jose State, giving the team eight solid games and four that provide a little breathing room during the back stretch of the season. We don’t consider Utah State a breather because it’s a rivalry game, even though BYU has owned the Aggies for decades (27-8 record since
1970). Every team gets up for playing BYU and Bronco Mendenhall can’t afford to let his squad take any opponent lightly.
H.B. Arnett of Cougar Sportsline (a subscription newsletter for BYU sports fans) is so high on this year’s Cougar football team that he’s predicting a BCS berth.
Quote: “… this is the year that BYU breaks into a BCS bowl. I’m not stupid. I know that means an undefeated season for the Cougars. That’s how stupid good this BYU team can be.”
We’d be inclined to agree with Arnett if Brigham Young’s new OC Brandon Doman already had a year of calling plays and total interaction with the offensive players and coaches under his belt. There is a lot of talent on this team and they appear to be unified and excited to take on the world as an independent.
New coaches Ben Cahoon (receivers) and Joe DuPaix (running backs) complement the move assistant head coach Lance Reynolds made to shore up a nationally touted (out of high school) group of tight ends in Austin Holt, Richard Wilson and Devin Mahina. (Note: Mahina is now out for the season with a fractured neck).
Cahoon has senior McKay Jacobson, soph Cody Hoffman, and redshirt freshman Ross Apo headlining a solid group of receivers, while DuPaix has senior sparkplug J.J. DiLuigi, second year bruiser “Juice” Quezeda, and senior Bryan Kariya to handle the rock out of the backfield.
Mark Weber’s offensive line is as solid as it’s ever been with Outland Trophy candidate Matt Reynolds holding down left tackle, and Braden Brown, Braden Hansen, Houston Reynolds, Terence Brown, and Ryker Matthews manning other ports
of call at the scrimmage line. They’ll protect soph signal caller Jake Heaps who is poised for a big year, and solid backup QB James Lark. Dual threat southpaw QB Riley Nelson will be utilized in the Cougar offense, but not as Heaps’ backup, should that need present itself.
Defensively, the linebacker corps is experienced, swift, and highly underrated with three NFL-quality studs in Uona Kaveinga, Jordan Pendleton and Kyle Van Noy. Barring injuries, they’ll be considered one of the top units in the nation by the end of this season.
The defensive line depth looks solid, especially now that senior DE Matt Putnam has been cleared academically to rejoin the team. The addition of Putnam’s experience and wingspan, not to mention the psychological lift of returning to his teammates, cannot be overlooked. It should take him a few weeks to get up to speed with the line platoon of Romney Fuga, Travis Tuiloma, Graham Rowley, Eathyn Manumaleuna, and USC transfer Hebron Fangupo.
The defensive backfield finally has solid with Daniel Sorenson, Travis Uale and Mike Hague handling safety duties and Corby Eason, Preston Hadley, Joe Sampson, and DeQuan Everett handling the corners. This group just needs some real game-time experience and you’ll see them gel nicely as a unit.
Prediction: 10-2 regular season, Armed Forces Bowl win, Top 15 ranking
BYU has a new OC and defensive backfield to break in. Look for them to lose close games on the road to Ole Miss and Texas the first two weeks of September and then rattle off 10 straight wins. Although they’ll be deserving of a Tier 2 bowl bid by season’s end, without the strength of a major conference affiliation they’ll be stuck playing in a Tier 4 bowl game.
Defense Grade: A-
BYU’s defense won this game, plain and simple.
They shut down Ole Miss’ vaunted rushing attack, yielding only 68 net yards rushing (2.3 avg on 29 attempts). The two top Rebel running backs, Brandon Bolden (5.3 avg) and Enrique Davis (2.3 avg), were both knocked out of the game with injuries and accounted for just 48 total yards. More >
Cougar Sportsline editor H. B. Arnett is predicting a 38-17 Brigham Young win over Texas in Austin this weekend.
The Cougar defense is very good this year and they’ll take care of business for as long as possible this Saturday, but in the end, I expect the offense to choke and sputter along the line of last week’s performance, which will eventually tucker out their faithful band of defensive-minded brothers.
This game will be a fairly low-scoring affair because Texas’ offense is still a work in progress, too; so, I’m calling it 20-13 or 20-10 in favor of UT. More >
There was a point in the second quarter of Saturday’s game in Austin – the 12:15 mark to be exact – where BYU had just capped a 97-yard drive with a Heaps-to-Apo touchdown pass. The scoreboard read BYU 13 Texas 0, and Cougar fans were giddy with excitement about their team’s prospects. Visions of an undefeated season danced in the head.
Unfortunately, the rest of the game went downhill from that point. The offense misfired continually, spitting the ball back to Texas four times on 3-and-outs and twice on interceptions. More >
The 2011 rivalry game has all the makings to be an ugly one. Not as ugly as the 2003 game. Nothing could be that ugly. And no, it wasn’t the bitter cold and snow that made it an ugly game, thank you very much, Gary C.
This match-up presents a different kind of ugly. The kind that should produce a low-scoring battle, slugged out in the trenches with field position and turnovers setting the table for the few points that will make it on the board. More >
In the past 37 years of BYU football, the Cougars have hit a 3-game offensive dead-spin only twice before this season: in 1974 under Lavell Edwards and in 2002 under Gary Crowton. Both of those seasons ended in a sub-.500 win-loss record.
With the 2011 season now one-quarter of the way complete, BYU’s offense is ranked near the very bottom of Division 1-A college football in Scoring Offense. To put that in perspective for you, Brandon Doman’s creation exists in a realm inhabited by offensive juggernaut programs such as Western Kentucky, San Jose State, Kent State, and Akron.
Even worse, the nightmarish offensive performance finally tipped the ship on the defense in Week 3, after we began to see the meltdown take place in the second half of the Texas game.
Watching BYU’s Defense get shredded on the ground by Utah in the second half, one couldn’t help but get the feeling that they were communicating to the Offense: “Enough is enough. If you’re going to keep us on the field this long every game, we’re gonna make your butts come right back out here.”
It was painfully visible that the Band of Brothers had disbanded. Given up. Thrown in the towel. Whether they can re-group this season is a question that will loom large not only this week but into the future.
What on earth happened to the team that Bronco was gushing about just 20 days ago? Was he fooled by a mirage?
Whatever, he thought he saw, it doesn’t exist, and if he truly wants to jump-start the Offense this season, he needs to consider immediate changes. He needs to consider hiring a retired offensive wizard with previous ties to the BYU program – someone like Ted Tollner or Brian Billick – who will get Brandon Doman off the sidelines and into the skybox. Let them tutor him how to read the game from a bird’s eye point of view. Let them call the plays and gradually work him into his job, making sure he fully understands what it takes to run an offense and make play-by-play adjustments in crunch time.
Or better yet, let Doman do what he does best – coach the quarterbacks. And just leave the play calling to someone who’s got the experience.
If Mendenhall decides not to make any changes and the offense doesn’t get untracked, the question that needs to be asked is: What’s more important – Doman’s career or the BYU football program?
Other Questions Nobody Has Asked: Did any other offensive coordinators ever interview for the BYU job besides Doman, or was he just handed the keys after Anae was shown the door? If so, how did Bronco know that Doman could handle on-the-fly play calling in the heat of battle?
Coaching Grade: F
Whatever adjustments were made at halftime and as the game started to unravel in the third quarter were totally ineffective.
Keeping Heaps on the field in the fourth quarter with a 30-point deficit. Why didn’t we see James Lark at that point? Bronco had gushed about how he had competed well in August camp. Conversely, if the season’s outcome is so dependent on keeping Heaps healthy, than why wasn’t he pulled when the game was already out of reach?
First Half Offense Grade: D
Second Half Offense Grade: F
Heaps 32-yard TD pass to Apo at the 7:19 mark of the second quarter is about the only good thing memorable.
The Offense tallied six of the team’s seven turnovers.
Rushing yards per attempt? 0.5
Heaps got his first 300-yard passing game of his career, but quite frankly, who cares? Stats like that are meaningless unless they come attached to a Win.
First Half Defense Grade: B+
Second Half Defense Grade: D-
Kyle Van Noy made a phenomenally athletic interception in the first half. The first half would have been an A if the secondary didn’t melt down in coverage near the end of the second quarter.
Eason has serious coverage problems. BYU has better cornerbacks in the depth chart and they need to start using them.
Special Teams Grade: D+
Justin Sorenson banged in a nice 46-yard field goal. He also kicked out of bounds at the beginning of the second half to give Utah primo field position.
Riley Stephenson had a 46.5-yard average on 6 punts with three inside the 20. His longest was a 65-yarder.
J.D. Falslev fumbled at the 3-yard line to give Utah an easy touchdown two plays later.
The punt coverage team gave up a 29-yard return in the second half to negate a nice punt by Stephenson.
Final Team Grade: F+