Thearon W. Henderson
Johnathan Franklin of the UCLA Bruins, Star Lotulelei of the Utah Utes, Kenjon Barner of the Oregon Ducks and Stepfan Taylor of the Stanford Cardinal are among the toughest losses for Pac-12 football teams this year.
Which team has the biggest hole to fill at a certain position?
Matt Takimoto, Addicted to Quack: It has to be UCLA trying to replace Johnathan Franklin, doesn't it? Over 2000 yards of total offense is never easy, and as a three-year starter, it feels like the end of an era for UCLA football now that he won't be running people over.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: I would say Johnathan Franklin at UCLA. He was the key to their offense, got a lot of carries and there is no heir apparent in place at all. I would put Stanford replacing Stepfan Taylor as a close second.
Gekko Mojo, UW Dawg Pound: The loss of Kenjon Barner and how that is handled by the new head coach is one that is going to be intriguing to observe. While it has been established that DAT is capable of going inside and running between the tackles, it hasn't been established that he should be used in that way. The other options to replace him are interesting, but all unproven. Given the importance of that feature back in the offense, I think it qualifies as the biggest hole to fill. I think the backfills for Star Lotulelei and Desmond Trufant - two impact defenders who allowed their Defensive Coordinators tremendous flexibility in their schemes - will also be filling big gaps for their respective teams.
NorcalNick, California Golden Blogs: I'm going to go with two less obvious players on less marquee teams. Star Lotulelei at Utah and Jordan Poyer at Oregon State will both be really tough to replace, in large part because Utah and Oregon State don't have the amount of talent that other top teams in the conference have. Will Utah's defense fall apart without a nose tackle to occupy two blockers on every play? Will Oregon State's defense decline because they don't have a top cornerback to take away one side of the field in a league filled with great aerial attacks?
Andy Wooldridge, Building The Dam: Arizona has graduated great quarterbacks in back to back years. There's reportedly more talent in the pipeline, but until we see it, the likelihood of a trifecta is a bit of a long shot, and there's no doubt that Rich Rodriguez needs a lot out of the quarterback position for his system to flourish.
, PacHoops: I'll take the Arizona perspective in replacing All-Conference QB and RichRod prototype, Matt Scott. He was integral to Rod's first year and made the transition about as smooth as possible considering the cupboard Stoops left him. They do have highly touted Anu Solomon heading to the desert but it's often hard to rely, heavily, on a true freshman.
Sean Reynolds, Block U: I'm gonna go with Utah and the loss of Niasi Leota, which hurts an already shaky defensive line. Star Lotulelei was going to be a big miss, obviously, but Leota's was unexpected and adds to the many questions the Utes have on defense already.