- David Ubben, College Football
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We're moving on in our series pegging the single player each team in the Big 12 can't afford to lose. He's also the player who will be most responsible for the team's ultimate success.
Next up: The Baylor Bears
Most indispensable player: Receiver Terrance Williams
2011 stats: Caught 59 passes for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Why Baylor can't afford to lose him: This was a pretty difficult call, and Williams is mostly indispensable by default. Baylor probably doesn't have a single player whose loss alone would cost the Bears a berth in a bowl. Quarterback Nick Florence is the most likely candidate, but his backup, Bryce Petty is really solid and probably ready to grab the reins of the team right now. The only problem? Florence is a little bit better.
The defense is still kind of a mess and loses its best leader, Elliot Coffey. The running backs are loaded and three deep. Any of Glasco Martin, Jarred Salubi and Lache Seastrunk could probably carry the load.
That leaves Williams. He's the biggest target for Florence, and a step above Lanear Sampson and an imposing player at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds. Tevin Reese is solid, but could he carry an offense at just 5-foot-10, 160 pounds? Doubtful. He works better as a complimentary piece to a high-powered offense. Williams is the Big 12's leading returning receiver among players who played in the Big 12 in 2011 and will do so again in 2012. You probably remember him as the guy on the end of what eventually became the defining play of Robert Griffin III's Heisman campaign.
He's irreplaceable in the Baylor football lore, and could become even more so in 2012 as the team's most irreplaceable player.