BYU Football: Expect Jake Heaps To Start at QB vs. Nevada

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst ISeptember 21, 2010

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 1:  BYU  Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announces that BYU football will become independent in football in 2011 separating from the Mountain West Conference, September 1, 2010 in Provo, Utah. The remaining BYU sports will become affiliated with the West Coast Conference in 2011. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images
Jake Heaps

Jake Heaps

UPDATE: BYU has announced in a press release that Riley Nelson is out for the season with a shoulder injury sustained in Saturday’s game with Florida State…

Here is the release

PROVO, Utah (Sept. 21, 2010) – BYU junior quarterback Riley Nelson will have surgery to repair a shoulder injury suffered Saturday during the Florida State game and will be out the remainder of the 2010 season.

An MRI has revealed the need for surgery on Nelson’s non-throwing shoulder. The anticipated recovery time is 4-5 months.

“We will miss Riley’s leadership, toughness and playmaking ability,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Unfortunately, injuries are part of football. Riley is a great young man and we will look forward to his return.”

Nelson, from Logan, Utah, has started each of BYU’s first three games while sharing time with true freshman quarterback Jake Heaps. Nelson has completed 20-of-40 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns while adding 148 yards and one touchdown on 31 rushing attempts.

“It’s never fun to be injured,” Nelson said. “I’m getting it taken care of as soon as possible so I can start my recovery and be back to help the team in the future.”


During this morning’s Mountain West Conference teleconference BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said that he will play two quarterbacks again this week against Nevada.

Despite that announcement, I expect Jake Heaps to start and to play most of the game on Saturday. Bronco is expected to name a starter for the game by Wednesday afternoon.

Monday, in his weekly question and answer with the local press, he said that it is becoming more and more clear to him who the quarterback should be.

He also admitted in both pressers that splitting quarterback reps has created a problem for his team’s ability to execute.

Last week Mendenhall announced that Riley Nelson would start. He did and played in two series, completing just one of four passes for one yard and an interception. He then sat the bench the rest of the way in favor of Heaps.

So I do believe that Bronco is telling the truth when he says that both QB’s will play. Expect Nelson to finally end up in a situational role beginning this week, with Heaps taking the majority of the snaps.

Heaps is the future and present at quarterback and I believe the coaches are seeing the need to get the best passer the reps he needs to start developing a chemistry with the rest of the offense. Heaps had his struggles at Florida State, but it is clear that he has the arm and tools you look for to direct the Cougar offense.

Heaps held on to the ball to long, took too many sacks and fumbled the ball on multiple occasions against Florida State. All of that can and will be corrected as the true freshman gains experience and greater confidence. You may recall Max Hall’s performance in 2007 at UCLA when he fumbled the ball on multiple occasions.

With a team that can light up the scoreboard like Nevada coming to town, the BYU offense will need to be able to keep pace and score points itself. I believe the coaches are realizing that Heaps is the guy that gives the Cougars their best chance.