Roundtable: Second most important Sooner

Every Thursday during the season, the SoonerNation staff will answer a roundtable question about OU football. Leave a comment or talk about it in our "There's Only One" forum.

Today's question: Who's OU's most important player outside of Landry Jones?

• Thanks to a pair of injuries up front, Gabe Ikard has suddenly become the most important player on the roster outside the quarterback. Ikard's experience at center last season proved to be a silver lining, as the Sooners haven't missed a beat with him running center again this preseason without Ben Habern. The center position is critical to maintaining OU's fast pace in the hurry-up, no-huddle offense. With limited depth now on the offensive line, he is one of the few players OU cannot afford to lose.

- Jake Trotter

• Junior Tony Jefferson could be critical to OU's success in 2012. The safety will be the quarterback of the Sooners defense and he has been vocal during preseason camp in a effort to make sure his defensive teammates are on the same page. He's critical to the communication in the secondary against a Big 12 schedule that features four teams, Oklahoma State, Baylor, West Virginia, Texas Tech, which finished in the top 10 in passing offense in 2011. Jefferson is critical to OU's success, not only because of his desire to be a leader but because of his physical skills as well. He's one of the Sooners most instinctive defenders, which makes him a good fit as a ball-hawking safety. The combination of the two makes Jefferson the most important player in crimson and cream not named Landry Jones.

- Brandon Chatmon

• The heart and soul of OU football is at middle linebacker. That means this season there is nobody more important than Tom Wort, the "Ultimate Warrior." OU fans got a taste of what a healthy Wort can do last season in what was the best game of his career against Florida State. Wort said he has always felt like a leader of the defense. And with Travis Lewis now with the Detroit Lions, Wort will have to step up even more in that role. But in talking to him, he is definitely ready for the responsibility.

- Bob Przybylo