Saturday's Spring Game can't come fast enough for new Kansas quarterback Jake Heaps. After transferring from BYU and sitting out 2012, Heaps has had ample time to learn coach Charlie Weis system as well as become a leader on and off the field.
Throughout spring football, Heaps has been under the microscope and will be heading into fall camp and the season, but after waiting and witnessing a 2012 season where his team went 1-11, his time can't arrive fast enough, as he hopes to key the resurgence of Kansas football, a process that has been aided by the past year.
"These guys have gotten to know me and that's been the biggest thing, letting them get to know me and who I am as a person on and off the field," Heaps said.
The excitement over the introduction of Heaps is as high as the excitement over the culture change that Weis and his coaching staff have brought, helped by several newcomers.
Some may also wonder how confident can this team be after the struggles of 2012, but to a man, starting with Heaps, the past is exactly that.
"Last season is last season and you have to put that behind you, learn from it and get better," Heaps said. "It's a new team. There's new guys on this team and there's guys returning that have a new attitude a new mindset and we're trying to do something special around here and you can't worry about what happened last year. You just have to focus on correcting the mistakes of last year and building on those things and just developing a mindset and attitude that we're going to win games and we're getting there."
Heaps definitely talks with confidence and it has shown to his teammates who view him as a leader and it's something that he began working on even while sitting on the sidelines.
While watching the Jayhawks struggle, he became a student of the game and frequently exchanged messages with Weis, noting the things that needed to be worked on.
On the field, he exceled while leading the scout team, often raising the eyebrows of the staff and particularly Weis, who was always quick to single him out last season.
In addition, typically acted as the leader recruiter for the coaches, becoming and ambassador for Kansas football, which in turn immediately strike up a relationship, which makes the role of team leader become easy even before one ball is snapped.
Throughout the spring, Heaps has wasted no time getting done on the field, which has made a big impact with the team as they look ahead.
"He's brings so much to the table, as far as leadership and qualities as a quarterback and that's what you need, a quarterback that will take over the offense," running back James Sims said. "When the team is getting low, he'll bring us up and help everyone out."
Starting with Saturday's spring game, all will finally get to see some of what everyone has been ranting and raving about, but for Heaps, he only hopes it's the beginning and that the praise will be earned and continue as moving forward into a new beginning.