Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is Jake Heaps The Worst Brigham Young Cougars Freshman Quarterback Ever?

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  1. I find it remarkable that you get through this entire analysis w/o noting the absolutely defining fact that Heaps is a TRUE freshman where everyone you're comparing him to is a redshirt freshman (except for Miller, who's one-start experiment vs UTEP is hardly comparable to Jake's time logged against Florida State, TCU's #1 defense and the best SDSU, USU and UNR teams in a decade or more).

    Detmer was a REDSHIRT freshman who (a) had more than a full year of Norm Chow tutelage behind him before he ever set foot on the field and (b) wasn't asked to start until Week 8 at home vs New Mexico.

    Beck and Berry were both 22 year old RMs one with a redshirt year one with a grayshirt year behind them before they ever set foot on the field.

    I appreciate the rest of your commentary - but that is a drastic difference between those three and Heaps.

    He's really in his own category as the ONLY true freshman QB in BYU history to start multiple games in a season, the ONLY BYU freshman QB to go play on the road against not one but two ranked teams...

    Different story. Not comparable.

  2. Also missing: Not only being a true freshman, but only getting half the reps for all of spring and summer ball and into the season, April thru mid-September.

    Also missing: He's throwing to the worst WR corp in the nation.

  3. The omission of Heaps as a true freshman versus others being redshirts is a critical one. It is also notable that BYU has played a much more difficult schedule thus far this years than in typical years. Both factors are likely having an effect on his performance.

    The "only getting half the reps" argument...well, I'm not buying it. As far as I am aware or can recall, none of these other freshman quarterbacks were named a starter prior to the beginning of the season and therefore given the reps of a starter during any preseason camps. So the point is moot. In fact (and I really do not know), Heaps getting half the reps may have been more than some of the others had seen in spring and fall camps.

    Still, I think I see the editors point. Whether we like it or not, Heaps has not progressed as expected. A lot things factor into that, which likely include us fans simply having too high of expectations. I think Heaps will certainly become a great quarterback, but at this point he is behind, and not a above criticism.

  4. Great comments everyone.

    Regarding the true vs. redshirt vs. RM status, it is something I considered and should have explained why I left it out. Here are my thoughts about it.

    1. Heaps is the equivalent of a greyshirt, since he enrolled early last January. Heaps also has something that the others did not. He had the benefit of attending Elite 11 camps, HS All-American games, etc.

    2. The NCAA and BYU record books don't differentiate between true/redshirt/greyshirt/18 or 21 year old freshmen. If a player is a freshman he is a freshman, and if he sets a freshman record no asterisk is added. The freshman all-american team works the same way.

    3. BYU does not get spotted any points or field position or any other "handicap" because they are playing a true freshman, rather than a redshirt freshman, at QB. On the field a player's class is irrelevant.

    4. Heaps doesn't get his stats adjusted by some scientific factor (i.e. multiply yards by 1.25, TD passes by 1.5, etc) to account for his true freshman status.

    This is one of those "that's the way the cookie crumbles" situations. What is next, we are going to start looking at whether or not a player was a walk-on or a scholarship recipient?

    Should we penalize Detmer for having a dad who coached football? That seems to be an unfair advantage that the others didn't have.
    The varibles of each quarterback's pre-playing time preparation is endless and they can't be compared. But, I believe, the positives and negatives of those variables are refelcted to a large extent in a player's stats.

    The fact is this is Jake Heaps' freshman year. He only gets one, just like everyone else. Every player at every position brings a different skill level and preparation level whether it is their freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year. It's true, there is no perfect way to compare any two players.

  5. Limited Reps?
    I agree with Neal about the reps. Detmer was second string to Sean Covey. Detmer wasn't in one of these Jordan Wynn situations where the coaches say, this guy really is better, so until he is ready Covey will start. Covey finished 87 as the starter and was the undisputed starter all through spring and fall camp, AND the 1988 season. Detmer's only start came due to an injury to Covey. As soon as Covey was ready to go, he was back in the line up.

    The same is true for everyone else. Miller, Berry, Beck all got their shot because the starter was injured. Even Heaps didn't start this year until Nelson's shoulder became unbearable.

    Heaps probably has gotten more practice reps than any of the others.

    As for the WRs, that has been a problem. Detmer did have Chuck Cutler. Berry had Reno Mahe. Miller had Ben Cahoon. But Beck, he had nobody. Todd Watkins came the year after. McKay Jacobson was supposed to be this year's Cutler/Mahe/Cahoon, and Ashworth and Chambers were supposed to be good complements as well.

    However, I don't think that lack of a receiving corps should give anyone a free pass to the top of the list. I accounted for the poor receiver play, and that is one reason why I don't have Heaps at the bottom of the list because of his lack of TDs and poor yards per attempt average.

  6. Tougher Competition?
    The TCU defense is very good. FSU, I am not willing to go there with them. Remember what Oklahoma did to them?

    Detmer faced #2 Miami, on the road, and was 16-27, 212, 2 TD, 3 Int

    That was one of Detmer's better games. Heaps had his worst game against TCU.

    Neal, you are slighly off on what my point is. There was no intent to criticize. Before I started this post, I was feeling that Heaps was not progressing, and I was ready to put him at the bottom of the list, but doing the research and analysis for this I am feeling better about his progress.

    It may sound funny, but it is impressive that he has "only" 7 interceptions. Most freshmen would have twice that many on 229 attempts, including everyone on this list.

    I do agree that the sky high expectations can cloud our judgment of his performance so far.

    As for the future, I fully expect Heaps to finish his BYU career with over 10,000 passing yards, 75 touchdown passes, and many, many wins. (That is assuming he starts for three more years, but that is getting into another topic for another day.)

  7. I'd like you to revisit this now right before the bowl game.

    He is now 194 for 349, 2052 yards, 55.6%, 11 tds, 8 picks and 110 efficiency.

    He had more attempts and completions than anybody.

    Matt Berry was the only one who had a better completion percentage.

    If he throws two td's he'll have as many as detmer (with a LOT more playing time, so that doesn't exactly carry over)

    Doing the math if they all passed as much as hime, miller would have had 20 picks, berry 17, detmer 22, and beck 12. I know you can't simply do the math and that's what would have happened, but still, he only has 8.

    He does have the second worst efficiency....

    Still, I'd say that with the new comparison, after a full regular season, he is up at the top and not the middle.

    I think if he can improve, and have games like that Utah game, we'll have a good to great season next year, an even better one the next, and maybe a stellar one his senior year. He's shown he can do it, we just need it to keep getting better. We need to get some better or improved recievers around him too.