Ohio State and the rest of the college football world are still getting over the shock of Heisman Candidate Braxton Miller going down with a season-ending injury this week. That left some people thinking about which BC players would be the most devastating to lose for the season due to injury. Below is one writer's opinion of the most important player's on BC's roster.
Writer's note: The term "most important player" is viewed as a combination of most important to the team in terms of on the field performance and which would be the most devastating to lose to an injury.
Below are players ranked 6-10, and later in the week will be players ranked 1-5.
10. Seth Betancourt-This is probably a good early reminder that this is a list of the "most important" players and not the "most talented" players on the roster, which is not a slap in the face to Betancourt by any means. However, with an offensive line that has All-League candidates on it, Betancourt isn't viewed as the most talented at this point in his career.
Betancourt is playing arguably the second most important position on the team at left tackle. He is in charge of protecting one of BC's most important assets, Tyler Murphy. I won't give anything away now, but Murphy is not on this list so there's a good chance he is on the list of the 1-5 most important players.
While Betancourt doesn't have a ton of playing experience he has been being groomed for this moment for the last few seasons.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Betancourt is important though is the lack of depth behind him. If he were to go down the staff would likely have to replace him with a player that has no game experience. In addition, none of the replacements behind him have shown that they are ready to play full-time at this level yet. That contrasts to if Bobby Vardaro or Harris Williams went down because Aaron Kramer has shown repeatedly in practices and scrimmages that he could step in without a huge drop off in performance.
9.Alex Howell- Steve Addazio summed it up pretty nicely recently when he was asked how the team would replace kicker Nate Freese.
"You're not going to replace him right now. That can't happen that fast," said Addazio.
After handling all of the extra points and field goals in the most recent scrimmage, Howell appears to have won the starting kicking job. While he can't replace Freese it will be important not to have a huge drop-off. For a team like BC that doesn't run a lot of plays and tries to chew up the time of possession it's important that they put points on the board at every opportunity. A long drive that ends with a missed field goal can be a huge momentum swing when you play a ball-control style of offense.
8. Steven Daniels- Admittedly it was a little tough putting Daniels in the top ten considering that he might not even be a full-time starter this year. However, with a starter label or not there is no denying that he is the best run stopping linebacker on the team. Also, he is arguably the biggest hitter on the defense and overall brings a bad-to-the-bone attitude that not every player on the BC defense has.
7. Manny Asprilla- As college offenses throw the ball more and more it's becoming all the more important to have a cornerback that can stick on the best receivers. Asprilla has a little ways to go before being considered above average with his cover skills, but he makes up for it with his tackling ability. You can be sure that most opponents aren't going to try a bubble-screen to their little 5'7" or 5'8" wide receiver on Asprilla's side of the field because if they do the play is almost surely going to be blown up by the cornerback.
It would be a little scary to see Asprilla go down for an extended length of time because there isn't a lot of depth behind him. His replacement would either have to be a veteran safety converted to cornerback (like Sylvia) or one of the freshmen on the roster.
6. Josh Keyes- While Daniels might be trending down on this list, Keyes is definitely trending up. For those who haven't got to see BC practice or scrimmage this summer you will be pleasantly surprised with the improvement of Keyes from last season. The linebacker has been the MVP of the defense in summer camp with the plays he is making all over the field.
Defensive coordinator Don Brown is finding more and more inventive ways to use Keyes in his defense, which offers him more flexibility with the rest of the players on the field. When you throw in the fact that Keyes is the best blitzing linebacker that BC has, it becomes apparent that Keyes is one of the most important players on the BC defense because of his versatility and big-play making ability. There simply isn't another player on the roster with the skill set like Keyes has.