BYU: Heaps vs. Nelson- why choose?

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PROVO -- Who could have foreseen that with BYU's football season mere days away, the Heaps versus Nelson quarterback debate could be relegated to "by-the-way" status by the "independence" rumor? But anyone paying attention knows that the question is alive and well and Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall just added fuel to the speculation fire.

"At this point I'd say it's between Riley (Nelson) and Jake (Heaps) as dead even, with James (Lark) number three," Mendenhall stated.

Deseret News' Dick Harmon and Mountain Television's Blaine Fowler stuck around after the BYU/MWC discussion Sunday to talk about the two talented athletes vying for starting honors.

There hasn't been a battle like this for QB at BYU in recent memory. The question is, is there an upside or is it all downside going into the season with two real quarterback contenders?

Fowler doesn't necessarily view it as a problem.

"In this situation it may be okay to have two," Fowler opined. "If you've got two quarterbacks whose skill sets are so different... Jake Heaps is a great drop-back guy, as skilled a freshman as I've ever seen at BYU. And Riley Nelson is a run-around guy that can make plays with his feet... I don't think you divide a team when you say, hey, they're both going to play."

Harmon was clearly thinking the other side of the ball, adding "It forces the defenses you're going to face to have to prepare for somebody completely different....[BYU is] going to face the [projected] No.1 NFL draftee in Jake Locker at the University of Washington in a game. What better way to do it than to have Riley Nelson running out there like Jake Locker getting the defense prepared for every type of little nuance that a quarterback might do as a running quarterback."

Fowler and Harmon clearly saw an advantage to having two such strengths to draw from during a game. With quarterback status still up in the air, it remains to be seen whether Coach Mendenhall agrees or if he'll do some tailoring in the next few days.


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