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April 4, 2013Last year Jake Heaps gave the Kansas fans a small taste of his abilities in the spring game. He was an efficient 7-for-10 for 104 yards and a touchdown. However he had to sit out last season after transferring from BYU so his performance wasn't talked about much.
This year's spring game will have a different feel since he's expected to be the starting quarterback in 2013. Heaps quickly established himself as a leader during the off-season.
"He's feisty and he's ready to play every down," said wide receiver Christian Matthews. "He's our leader and gets us where we need to be. He's been doing a good job. When he sees us down or not in the huddle, he's the one that gets us set up. When it is time to make a play he's the one talking."
Fast forward a year and Heaps is ready to show what he can do.
"I wasn't the guy people were focusing on (last year)," he said. "I still have the same attitude and mentality going into it. I wanted to show people what I could do. I wanted to show people what our team is about. I'm very excited for all of you guys to see what we are all about. This will be fun."
One difference between Heaps has noticed is an upgrade in talent. The early infusion of junior college players and improvement from returning players has caught Heaps' attention.
"Right from the git-go you could see a major talent difference," Heaps said. "You can see the boost in talent and overall progression of our football team being in year two under coach Weis. Now we've had that familiarity with him. That was very encouraging."
The team has approached practice with a good attitude. About halfway through practice Heaps remembered when he saw a difference in the team. They do a short yardage drill where the defense and offense go head-to-head and that's when he noticed a change. He said it was like a flip got switched on.
"Really it came down to one of our practices," Heaps said. "We had a short yardage period and it was offense against defense. Who was going to get the first down? Trash talking started and everybody was having fun. That's how it should be. Guys after that got a taste of it. It was like "that was cool." Ever since that point we have carried that attitude all the way through."
While the practices have been kicked up a notch on the field with physical play Heaps also said they focus on where they need to be mentally.
"One of the biggest things what we have talked about is mind set," he said. "And where we need to be ready to win. We are taking practice very serious but making it fun. When you go out and practice it correlates into games. You have to take practice seriously. You might as well make it fun and compete. You have to push each other and that's what we have been doing."