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Why We Watch: Devon Allen and Application of Tools

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Devon Allen has dominated headlines because of his speed and athleticism. Now his application of his raw tools is the subject of this installment of "Why We Watch."

Steve Dykes

Marcus Mariota is obviously the guy getting the majority of the mainstream media attention and justifiably so.  For an avid fan of a sports team the anticipation of the breakout star is what causes the most intrigue.  The unknown and the high hopes of what could be can create some euphoria in the months of July and August while nearing the end of the longest off-season in sports.  The player that might have created the most buzz among Duck fans this off-season was Devon Allen and it's a direct result of the potential that has everyone stirring.

Devon Allen posted ridiculous numbers in the 110-meter hurdle and was a national champion in the NCAA, where he set the new meet record at 13.16, and US championships.  In a vacuum Devon Allen is fast and we now watch to see how that carries over to the gridiron.

Football first and foremost is a sport dominated by athleticism than with skills.  Speed kills and power dictates the line of scrimmage.  The evidence for this is the exodus of players from being a forward in basketball to dangerous tight ends in the NFL with almost no previous football experience.

Oregon football has long prided itself on the athleticism of its players and the "bullets over bowling balls" philosophy seen in its strength and conditioning preparation.  Devon Allen is the fastest of the fast.  He is the fastest player on the fastest team.

The ability to adapt raw talents to the mold of accomplishing a specific task is not unique to football.  Devon Allen attempts to bring his speed to the football field the same way that recent graduates enter the workforce with enthusiasm and a basic skill set that needs to be fine tuned for the job that they take.  A writer's raw creativity and vision needs to be clear and collaborated on with others in the writing room in order to pull off an excellent television show.

Players like De'Anthony Thomas and Josh Huff play as fast as they can.  The speed they show in the 40-yard dash directly carries over to the field, which is not true for every NFL player who runs a blazing 40.  BJ Kelley even said he was the fastest player on the team.

With the question marks at wide receiver the potential of an absolute burner at wide receiver is too exciting to not contemplate.  Lowe could provide the seniority at the position and reliability.  Allen fits into the role of a vertical stretch whose speed alone creates mismatches on the perimeter.

I keep dreaming of the stress that Allen's speed will put on opposing defenses.   How defenses will need to always have a safety over the top because Allen will burn his cornerback and thus will create more running room in the box.  Visions of Mariota throwing deep bombs to Allen and seeing Allen stride it out to the end zone while opposing secondaries fall off his pace have danced in my head the last few weeks.

On paper Devon Allen is one of the ultimate players to play in the offense.  If you were to create the physical attributes of an ideal wide receiver in a laboratory you would end up with someone like Devon Allen.

Now the question is how well these tools are applied to football.  The more technical strategies get and the better opponents get there is an added emphasis on the application of tools.  Devon Allen is fast and he's tall.  But how well will he out jump players on the sidelines?  How will he get separation to use his speed?  Will he make everyone miss in the open field before hitting a seam and taking it to the house?  These are the questions that we will be looking for the answers to when it comes to Devon Allen.  This struggle is one that we can all relate to because we have all undergone it.  Seeing someone execute the application of their skills successfully is almost as heart-warming as doing it ourselves.  This season, we watch because we want to see Devon Allen use his raw abilities to take over games in ways that we didn't know about last year.