All players are equal, but some players are more equal than others. That's the basis of our Most Important Players series.
First off, quarterbacks are excluded to make things more interesting. It goes without saying, for example, that Marcus Mariota is Oregon's most important player.
And most important doesn't necessarily have to be "best." An All-American's backup can be pretty darn good, too. USC’s Leonard Williams might be the best defensive lineman in the nation, but is he the Trojans' most important player considering the talent and depth on their D-line?
Our most important guys are players who could swing a win total one way or the other, based on them living up to expectations. Or their absence.
Utah: WR Kenneth Scott
2013 production: Injured himself in the first game of 2013. During the 2012 season, he recorded three touchdowns and 360 yards on 32 catches.
Why Scott is so important: OK, so hear me out. Earlier this week I wrote about how wide receiver Dres Anderson is positioning himself to have a huge senior season and how he and quarterback Travis Wilson could become one of the most dangerous QB-WR combos in the Pac-12.
There’s one caveat. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said that for any of that to happen, another wide receiver needs to emerge, taking some of the focus off Anderson. This is why Scott is so important -- yes, dare I even say, the most important player. He was the first wide receiver that Whittingham brought up after mentioning how important those “other” receivers would be to Anderson and Wilson’s success.
Obviously, the running game also needs to be strong in order to open up the passing game. But it seems as though junior RB Bubba Poole has a handle on the rushing attack and will make sure to hit the holes well enough that the passing lanes should be there for Wilson. So, the biggest question mark then returns to Scott: Can he do enough on the field so that teams aren’t able to run double coverage on Anderson on every down? Can he draw the attention away and make plays of his own? Can his production make Wilson-Anderson happen?
Much of the offense seems to be heavily riding on that Wilson-Anderson production (assuming Wilson is able to play this fall). But that equation is riding on whether another guy steps up. So, the key to the key is the key/most important player, no?
Other Most Important Players: