Key Players for 2012: Jim Noel
This is a series on the key players for the 2012 season. Big things are expected for some, while others will need to improve over their previous performances. If 2012 is a good year, it will be in part due to the key players overachieving.
Senior Safety, Jim Noel
What he's been: A contributor since day one, Noel has grown from back up to fill in starter, to a full time starter over three years. While primarily a safety, BC has also used him at corner. He missed a good portion of 2011, leaving our already depleted secondary without an impact player. Noel has never been a big hitter or ballhawk, but he's been good in coverage and done what's been asked.
What he needs to be: Noel needs to take over. Our defense is at its best when we have safeties with great anticipation. If you design your defense to exploit QB mistakes, you need a smart and athletic Safety to be in the right place at the right time. One of the reasons we struggled ending drives last year and giving up big plays to teams like Central Florida was because our safeties just couldn't make plays. Noel was doing his best filling in at Corner, while Syvlia, Hughes and Rositano kept getting burned. Hopefully Noel can focus on one area this year, stay healthy and have a big season.
Why I like his chances to shine: Look back on the interceptions Noel has made. They are often really great athletic plays. Few are gimmes that just landed in his hand. If he can be that great for 12 games and get even a little help from his other safeties, he will have a big year.
Last season BC only had 13 interceptions. It was our lowest output since the TOB years. If Noel can help end a few drives with big takeaways, BC could be a strong defensive team again.