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How Will Montel Harris' Injury Affect Boston College's 2011 Season?

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It's now been a full 24 hours since we have heard the news of the knee surgery that will sideline Montel Harris for the next 3-4 weeks. At first it was a difficult pill to swallow. Losing the most dynamic player on your offense is never easy. But let's take a giant step back and look at this situation with a bit more perspective.

1. At least he had the surgery now.  Knee injuries are the kind that linger and ruin seasons. It was a smart decision to take care of it now and be ready for Florida State and Virginia Tech than be completely ineffective during that stretch run. Northwestern had the 92nd ranked rushing defense a season ago while Duke has the 113th ranked rush D. While Central Florida does have the eighth best rush defense in the country, that only puts the pressure on the BC backs for one game.

2. BC has the talent to absorb this loss. Montel Harris wasn't an all ACC selection for nothing. He is a fantastic back and probably the best Boston College ever suited up. But Andre Williams is not a slouch and will do an admirable job filling in for Harris. Remember he had 185 yards against Syracuse last season and 120 yards against Virginia. Williams should do fine against Northwestern. Central Florida will definitely be the hardest defense he has faced, but if the passing game turns around there won't be so much pressure on Williams to be the only catalyst on the offeense. Tahj Kimble and Rolandan Finch should be fine as backups as well.

3. BC shouldn't hesitate to redshirt Montel if the injury might linger.  Losing Harris for three games will be one thing, but if we get Harris at 50-75 percent for the rest of the season it wouldn't be beneficial to any party involved. BC would almost be forced to use a less than optimum Harris and the running back's future would be hurt as well. Eagle in Atlanta summed up how Harris's future could be impacted by a sub-standard season:

"Although Montel might not want to sit, it is probably a better long term option. He won't approach the ACC records on a short season and NFL teams are not going to draft him with a nagging injury. If he redshirts, he still has a chance to recover and have a strong, full season in 2012."

I would love to see Montel Harris play this year at the Heights and go out as the top running back not only in school history but in the history of the conference. But if his knee continues to bother him, he not only risks those records, but millions in guaranteed money in the NFL (and the dude's gotta get paid).  If the coaching staff thinks that Harris will not reach 100% this season, it only makes sense to red shirt him, and let him reboot for the 2012 season. Most of his supporting cast will be here next year too. Do what's in the best interest of the athlete and the school.