We're moving on in our series on the Big 12 Blog pegging the single player each team in the Big 12 can't afford to lose. He's also the player that will be most responsible for the team's ultimate success.
Next up, the TCU Horned Frogs. Find more indispensable players here.
Most indispensable player(s): QB Casey Pachall
2011 stats: 228-of-343 (66.5 percent) for 2,921 yards, 25 TD, 7 INT. 51 yards rushing, 2 TD
Why TCU can't afford to lose him: Pachall didn't put up huge stats as a first-year starter and replacement for Andy Dalton, but he was really good and had three backs on his team that each had at least 100 carries. That limits his attempts. If TCU had been in the Big 12 last season, Pachall would have been seventh in the Big 12 in attempts. TCU's balance last season was astounding. He would have been fourth in completion percentage and second in yards per attempt.
TCU's backs are deep. Losing one wouldn't be a problem. It has three solid receivers and another in LaDarius Brown who could be a big player in the offense. That eliminates them from "most indispensable." The defense should be OK, but its top talent, Tanner Brock, is already gone.
That leaves Pachall, who might have been more valuable than all of them anyway. Sophomore Matt Brown and Trevone Boykin have almost no experience, and Pachall has showed lots of upside. His talent doesn't show up in the stat sheet, but it makes defenses do a whole lot more than respect the pass. Without Pachall, TCU's rushing attack is nowhere near as effective. TCU won't be rolling over opponents in the Big 12, and Pachall will be forced to throw the ball a whole lot more in high-scoring games and no off weeks like TCU encountered in the Mountain West. Against Boise State, Pachall proved he's capable of big numbers, throwing for 473 yards and five touchdowns to just one pick.
He may need more of those kinds of days for TCU to succeed in 2012. And for TCU to succeed in 2012, there's no doubt they need Pachall more than any other player on the roster.