OK look, we are now 8 games into the season, so whether you are a true freshman, redshirt sophomore, senior with no previous experience, or whatever else you may be, it is time to step up. 8 games into the season, you can't be calling yourself a rookie any more and I am not going to use the excuse that "we are young and inexperienced" anymore. By this time of year, you need to play like you've been there before. So looking at the game for tomorrow, who needs to prove their worth as a Cougar?
#1 - Jake Heaps - QB:
Jake has gone though splitting time to starter, but he now has a very significant amount of playing time under his belt and there is no room for excuses about who he did or didn't get to throw with over the summer, or how many reps he has taken with the #1's. Jake is completing 52% of his passes and has a rating of 87.9. Jake also has 2 TDs and 7 INTs. That is the past. What is the future?
What I want to see from Jake Heaps on Saturday is a QB who gets rid of the ball quick, ala John Beck and Max Hall. I want to see a QB who steps up in the pocket and doesn't retreat back for a deep sack. I want to see him complete over 65% of his passes and come out of the game with more TDs than INTs and a rating over 110 for the game. I am not shooting for the stars here, but I would like to see some small improvement from Jake and I believe he can do it. He almost did it against SDSU, and he had another strong game against Wyoming (relatively speaking).
#2 - Offensive Line:
They have not been "weak" this year, but they have not dominate either. I want them to step up and not give up a sack all game, no matter how long Jake holds the ball. I also want them to dominate the run game from beginning to end...none of this, slow and steady wears them down.
#3 - WR's:
The wide outs for BYU have been a non factor so far this year, and it is time they start contributing. If the first two do what I ask, then the person I want to have a great day is McKay Jacobson. He has struggled to get open this year, and when he is open, Jake Heaps has struggled to get him the ball. McKay only has 201 yards on the year and NO TDs!!! Those are like per game numbers from his freshman year, except he would have a TD. It's time that McKay gets factored into the game plan.
Marcus Matthews leads the team in average yards per reception at just over 18, but it is time for Matthews to find the endzone. He has been blanked on the year.
#4 - Shane Hunter - MLB:
Shane has made some big plays this year, but not since the Florida St. game. He also trails Andrew Rich by 20 tackles. Now, those two positions should be 1 and 2 in tackles in an ideal year, because of how the defense is designed to funnel to them, but the MLB should be leading the team by a long shot. Shane needs to come out and lead the team with double digit tackles this weekend and help create a turnover.
#5 - OLB:
This is a position by committee and they need to play great football for a whole 4 quarters. After the defensive shake up, they have made great strides, but I am looking for this group to really be the "IT" factor in the game on Saturday. I expect at least 2 sacks to come out of this group. That is what they need to do to prove they belong. To prove they can replace the Nixon/Kehl/Bolden trio.