7 College Football Teams That Must Escape the Injury Bug in 2013
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A team's season can be derailed by injuries. Last season, the Texas Longhorns' defense suffered a huge loss when defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat was sidelined for the year with a ruptured pectoral.
The Missouri Tigers struggled all year in 2012, but would've been much better off had running back Henry Josey been available.
In 2013, there are certainly teams that can't afford to be riddled with injured players. Here are seven of them:
South Carolina Gamecocks
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While the Gamecocks didn't drop a game following running back Marcus Lattimore's injury against Tennessee last season, signs that the team was under duress were evident.
They only won one game by double digits after Lattimore's injury. The team had won five games by 10 or more points prior to that.
Now in 2013, with much of South Carolina's hopes riding on Jadeveon Clowney, it will be imperative for the Gamecocks to stay healthy.
If the defense gets hit with injuries, less experienced players will takeover and teams will be able to put more focus on Clowney. And if the offense gets hit, the defense as a whole will have even more responsibility.
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The Longhorns' defense took a big blow last season when defensive lineman Jackson Jeffcoat was sidelined for the year.
Now with the Longhorns hoping for a big year in 2013, staying healthy is a big priority.
The biggest concerns will be on offense, where Mack Brown is instituting a new no-huddle offense that is sure to rely heavily on depth. If a playmaker on offense were to get hurt, the entire chemistry of the unit could be shaken up.
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With a new head coach in Mark Helfrich and a sophomore quarterback in Marcus Mariota, avoiding the injury bug will be important for the Ducks.
It will be critical for the defense for Eugene to stay healthy. According to Athlon Sports, the Ducks lack veteran leadership on defense with guys like Dion Jordan gone.
So staying healthy on defense is crucial for a unit looking to gel and find leadership.
Of course, in no-huddle offenses, staying healthy and maintaining depth is always key.
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Following a pitiful first season in the SEC where the Missouri Tigers went 5-7 overall and 2-6 in conference, Gary Pinkel's job in Columbia may be on the line.
So with the Tigers looking for a bounce-back year, staying healthy will be huge.
Running back Henry Josey will be back after missing all of 2012 with a devastating leg injury that included a torn ACL and MCL. His production was missed deeply last year.
Quarterback James Franklin will also have to avoid the injury bug, as the Tigers are not deep at quarterback.
Florida State Seminoles
RB Mario Pender
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Seven All-ACC players are gone and the Seminoles have six new assistant coaches, per Athlon Sports. So with a new era ushering itself in, Florida State will have to stay injury free in 2013.
Obviously a new quarterback will take EJ Manuel's place, while the defensive line will have to replace four guys from last year's unit.
The Seminoles only have 10 returning starters this year, so injuries to any of those guys would only exacerbate the problem of inexperience.
Kansas State Wildcats
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An injury that kept safety Ty Zimmerman out of the Baylor game last year is arguably what allowed to the Bears to upset the Wildcats last year.
Now with only two returning starters on defense and a new quarterback to replace Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, the Wildcats will have to avoid injuries if they want to defend their Big 12 title.
One of the two starters on defense, linebacker Tre Walker, is coming back from a season-ending leg injury himself.
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With only five returning starters on an offense led by Teddy Bridgewater, the Cardinals have a lot riding on their signal-caller.
So if he or one of the playmakers he relies on gets hurt, it could spell doom for Lousiville's BCS hopes.
The Cardinals did just get a huge boost with running back Michael Dyer transferring into the program. But after a year off, health is always a concern.