Ask the Insiders: The X-factors

BEYOND THE Xs and Os, the 40 times and the burst off the line, there's another category that has a decided effect on winning and losing – leadership. The Beavs lose two leaders to graduation in Markus Wheaton and Jordan Poyer. Who is there to take their place? Insiders Chad Luther and Drew Wilson-McGrath take a closer look…

Luther: The X-factor question. Last season the team certainly had a couple of strong leaders in Markus Wheaton and Jordan Poyer – guys who were vocal in practice, and led by example on the field. You can spot them a mile away in practice. But now they're both gone.

Who are those guys this season, the guys that teammates rally around?

Wilson-McGrath: Now this is tough, because leaders come and go – their impacts are big and small and can last mere seconds, or they could last for three seasons.

Wheaton was a reluctant leader – quiet guy who just loved the game and because he was a talented player, he became a leader by default.

Poyer liked being a leader. The mentality that so much was riding on his shoulders is what kicked him into high gear. There is nothing wrong with that.

And while I don't like singling people out in this regard, I do have my big three.

1.) Terron Ward – He's not a senior but not all leaders on college teams are. He is the little engine that could knock you on your keister. You don't tackle Terron Ward as a defender – you run into him and hope he falls in unison with you. He loves to play and wants to touch the end zone turf more than anything. He has a battle on his hands to be the starter, though.

2.) Grant Enger - (because second-year sophomore Isaac Seumalo is just not ready yet). Enger is a big guy who stands out in practice. I could hear him grunting in the trenches from halfway across the practice field during the bowl game prep. He will be a senior in 2013. A year older, and hopefully a year wiser.

3.) Rashaad Reynolds – If the "Beast Mode" moniker weren't already taken by Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks), Reynolds would get the title. And had Poyer not gotten every accolade from far and wide, a lot more people would be talking about him. He is 100 percent pure American Beast. And with that I rest my case.

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