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Posts Tagged ‘Jake Heaps’

No. 105: Kansas

Go ahead. Make his day. Try him. He’ll be your huckleberry. See that line in the sand? Cross it, if you dare. All that’s missing is a gun, a holster, a wide-brimmed hat and a six-shooter: Charlie Weis, the new sheriff in town, won’t take any of your sass-mouth, your weak-kneed cowardice, your yellow-bellying. He’d be the Man with No Name, but Weis is far too recognizable a figure to go anywhere, anytime and go unnamed. Instead, he’s rode into Lawrence like Wyatt Earp, bestride his transportation device of choice and with an incalculable degree of confidence — self-christened or otherwise. How has Weis decided to reverse the apathy that has crept up and invaded every nook and cranny of Kansas football? He’s combined two parts schematic advantage, one part N.C.A.A. graduate-student loophole and four parts no-nonsense accountability. Want to challenge the new sheriff in town? Then draw, pardner. But you should pack your bags first.

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    An Uncertain Future for the Holy War

    Add up the total margin of defeat in Utah’s five losses during its first season in the Pac-12. Nine points to U.S.C., with an added seven points coming after the Trojans blocked the Utes’ potential game-winning field goal and returned it for six as time expired – Vegas still remembers that finish. Seventeen points to Washington; 21 points a week later to Arizona State. Twenty-four points at California in late October. Shockingly, by three points to Colorado in the season finale. That loss, at home, gave Colorado its first road victory as a member of the Pac-12 and its first true road win altogether since beating Texas Tech in Lubbock in 2007. Add up the total margin of defeat: 74 points.

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      The Year in Review: B.Y.U. (10-3, 0-0)

      The suspicion was there in October and November, but it didn’t become official until Riley Nelson duped Tulsa, Dan Marino-style, late in the fourth quarter of December’s Armed Forces Bowl. Then it was official: Nelson’s become a legend. Not quite a Ty Detmer-level legend, mind you; Detmer was legendary, and there’s a difference. Nelson’s a legend in the Merriam-Webster definition of the word, third from the top: “a popular myth of recent origin.” Popular? Nelson’s popularity is off the charts in Provo, thanks to the way he put B.Y.U. on his shoulders and carried it to a 10-win season despite a horribly disappointing start. Mythical? Nelson wasn’t due to see the field at all, so the idea that he’d be the point man behind the Cougars’ second-half climb .

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        Weis Begins With Some “Deep Cleaning”

        Well, this happens. The new guy comes in. The old guy slinks off. Unfortunately, the old guy recruited and coached all the players, so there’s due to be some attrition. Some places feel it worse than others; I remember the mass exodus over Rob Ianello’s first year at Akron, which in hindsight should have been viewed as a harbinger of sad days to come. The first round of departures under Charlie Weis aren’t nearly as numerous, but they do send a message: “The tenure of Charlie Weis as Kansas football coach began with some deep cleaning,” writes Austin Meek of The Topeka Capital-Journal, and that sounds about right.

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          Weis Solidifies K.U.’s Quarterback Future

          Kansas already has a quarterback. His name is Jordan Webb: a sophomore, Webb started this fall on a strong note but, like his team, bottomed out over the season’s final two months. Webb is a serviceable college quarterback, as his numbers indicate, and not necessarily the sort of quarterback Charlie Weis desires in his pro-style offense. So to amend this fact, Weis went out and got a quarterback. Then he got another. And in doing so, Weis solidified the position for the foreseeable future.

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            Heaps’ Transfer Might Lead to Leach

            On paper, Washington State should be Jake Heaps’ preferred landing spot. The former starter at B.Y.U., Heaps declared his intention to transfer earlier this week, making official what most believed would come to pass over most of the second half of the regular season. Heaps, who started most of his true freshman season and the first five games of 2011, lost control of his starting job in the second half against Utah State, a game the Cougars would come back and win late under Riley Nelson. Even after playing reasonably well in Nelson’s stead as an injury replacement in November, the writing was on the wall: Heaps, if he wants to start, needed to play elsewhere.

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              Ten Themes for Saturday: Week 6

              Ten teams, themes, games and players to watch on Saturday. Pretty straightforward. Here we go:

              I’m ready to believe I think Kansas State has done enough through four games to justify a national ranking — I think so, at least. This is based largely on the last two weeks, when the Wildcats first beat Miami (Fla.) on the road and then outlasted Baylor, 36-35. The first two games weren’t impressive, no: Eastern Kentucky and Kent State. But Kansas State has done what it’s needed to do to gain some national recognition in a top-heavy Big 12 that is also dealing with some off-field issues, if you haven’t been paying attention. When will it be fine to really believe in Kansas State’s ability to be the conference’s surprise team? If you’re not yet on board, a win today over Missouri should seal the deal. The Tigers are 2-2, but it’s a solid 2-2: the losses came via road setbacks to Arizona State, in overtime, and Oklahoma. Missouri is the best team Kansas State has played, in my estimation, and a win will provide a firm illustration of how good coaching and a dedication to doing the little things wins football games.

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                What the Doctor Ordered for B.Y.U.

                Of the losses that made up B.Y.U.’s 2-5 start to 2010, none stood out quite like this: Utah State 31, Cougars 16. It was Utah State’s first win over B.Y.U. since 1993; Utah State’s first marquee win under Gary Anderson; it was the low point of the dreadful start for Bronco Mendenhall and B.Y.U., which knows many things but knows one thing for sure — we don’t lose to Utah State. So it was a loss to chew over, ponder and forget, remember and rehash, and one that B.Y.U. has carried in its back pocket over the 365 days since the two teams last met. Yes, that’s right: exactly one year to the date of B.Y.U.’s embarrassing loss, the Cougars get a chance to make up for lost time.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.