On my Follow Up entry (Oct. 21), an anonymous blogger said that they disagreed with my evaluation that the Chris Williams' loss will have a big impact on the team. Lets break it down.
I agree, the Aggies have a ton of depth at receiver. It's probably the strongest position, top-to-bottom, on their depth chart. Derek Dubois, A.J. Harris, Kenneth Buckley stepped in, Wes Neimann, Nick Cleaver, Chris Buckner — all these guys can play. And that will ease the pain of the loss of Williams.
The one thing Williams brings to the offense is big-play ability. He can score from anywhere on the field and is a deep threat who stretches the field vertically. This gives them the ability to work the underneath routes with Dubois and especially Harris, who is physical and likes going over the middle. Chris is a constant double team to opposing teams and needs to be accounted for. I think it even helps in the run game, as the safeties need to play back in fear of his speed. Holbrook also loves going to him. All these things are big factors in the Aggie offense.
This week, the team will put up points. Hawaii isn't good defensively. Williams would have a good effort if he were healthy, but either way, the team will put up good offensive numbers. The real problem will come in November. At San Jose, hosting Nevada and playing Fresno State, people will see the hole left by his departure. Even against Utah State, you might see the impact of his absence pop up.
I still think the team will be dangerous offensively. In fact, there will be moments where they don't miss a beat. But I also believe there will be stretches where people will be able to tell Williams is not on the field and the offense will suffer. They are deep at wide receiver. But no one they can put on the field is similar to Williams. At least not right now.