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September 27, 2012

Heaps learning the system

Last week when the Jayhawks went on the road to face Northern Illinois Jake Heaps didn't make the trip. That is something new to him since he has always been on the field for any team he's played on.

Heaps, a transfer from BYU, is sitting out this year due to NCAA rules. But he is using that time to learn the system under Charlie Weis. Heaps also has extra help with Dayne Crist, who knew Weis' system from Notre Dame.

"I think the biggest thing is understanding what coach Weis is looking for," Heaps said. "That's one of the biggest things Dayne has helped with. Coach Weis has a certain way he goes about things. He expects certain things from you. Dayne was able to tell me what to expect and how coach Weis wants it done. So I have been one step ahead of the curve. It has been an advantage to have Dayne around. We push each other in practice and help each other out. We've had a lot of fun together."

Heaps broke every freshman passing record at BYU. That says a lot looking back at some of the great quarterbacks that played there. He was the MVP of the New Mexico Bowl. As a sophomore he was on the Davey O'Brien Watch List.

"I was fully prepared to come into this situation," Heaps said. "I knew what I was getting into. I've been preparing like I was the starter. If I was eligible to play this year I feel 100 percent confident in walking on the field Sept. 1. I feel confident in knowing the offense.

"This is an opportunity to learn and grow mentally and physically. For me it is an exciting opportunity because I feel very confident in the offense. It makes me look into the future knowing I will know the offense that much more."

Coming out of Skyline High in Washington, Heaps was the top-rated quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com. He was the starting quarterback for the West team in the Army All-American game.

In the Kansas spring game he completed 7-of-10 passes including a 46-yard touchdown pass to Kale Pick. He's picked up the system and used the extra time to improve other areas of his game.

"Having the chance to spend the time in the weight room getting bigger is an important aspect to my game that I can grow on," he said. "I'm going to take full advantage of this year. Coach Weis has been awesome with how he's handled me getting me ready."

At BYU Heaps played in a pro-style offense that is similar to the Jayhawks system. One of the big differences is learning the MIKE ID calls. The quarterback is responsible for picking out a defender that will dictate to the offense what to do.

"The difference is you didn't have to make mike ID's," Heaps said. "I came in having an understanding the college game with fronts and defenses. For me this is exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for growth as far as the game goes. I've pushed myself that much further which has helped me out. It has made me a lot more confident coming up to the line of scrimmage. For me it has been exciting and I feel ready to go."

When Heaps made his decision to attend Kansas he wasn't alone. His wife, Brooke, was close by when he was deciding in his future.

"She loves it (Kansas)," Heaps said of his wife. "It has been a great environment for the both of us. It has been a good change. That's a good thing. I committed here and you never know how it will work out. I had a good vibe for being here on my visit. We've enjoyed it. She has a great job and the people in the community have been great."

Heaps has been fortunate to have someone like Crist show him what Weis wants in his system. The two have pushed each other in practice.

"You have to remember he's been a starting quarterback," Crist said. "It's not like he's a guy that hasn't played. He's started two years. As young as he is in eligibility he exceeds where he should be. He's very competitive. His preparation is great. He's smart and makes good decisions. It's exciting to see him grown and I will try to help him."


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