The spring season for Oregon was relatively un-newsworthy (with the exception of the Bralon Addison injury). And when it comes to spring football, un-newsworthy is typically a good thing. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t standouts.
This week we’re going to take a look at five standouts from spring practices.
No. 5: wide receiver Devon Allen
I’m not saying that Allen was the fifth-most important player to break out this spring, but because he has received a lot of love from us already (here, here and here), I figured we’d get him out of the way early.
Even so, Allen showing up this spring game was huge … possibly even more so than him showing up the 15 spring practices. Hear me out.
Through spring practice, coaches lauded the redshirt freshman's play. But without the public being able to really see anyone play, it’s tougher to just take their word. But when he caught that first touchdown pass in the spring scrimmage, then the second, he eased many minds.
The general feeling would have been quite somber if all the receivers looked average or only slightly better than average in the spring game. There would have been a lot more worry from Oregon fans. Who will be Marcus Mariota’s go-to receiver? Who can help Keanon Lowe in catching all those passes? Does such a small receiver corps ruin Mariota’s chances of a Heisman campaign? Does this knock Oregon out of the discussion of the top teams nationwide?
Allen could have dropped every pass in the spring game or let the pressure get to him and still had a great spring. But nobody is asking those questions because Allen looked so good and showed so much potential in the spring game. With two nearly-sure-thing wide receiver threats in the passing game in Lowe and Allen, fans can rest easy knowing that the season isn’t over before it starts, Mariota has a chance at the Heisman, etc.
Allen's big spring season was huge for the Ducks and huge for the general perception of the team. Allen is going to be a very, very important player for Oregon next fall. And the best part is, he’s young. His learning curve could be exponential. Will he be Superman in the first game or two of the season? Maybe. Maybe not. But the Allen that steps on the field for the season opener is going to be very different from the Allen that steps on the field in Game 12. And the Allen that steps on the field for Game 1 is already pretty darn good.