ALBRIGHT: Williamstown’s Allen a picture-perfect linebacker
Football fans won’t have any problems guessing the position Williamstown’s Rickie Allen is playing this upcoming season. It’s — undoubtedly — linebacker.
He’s just got the look.
No, not the one Roxette sings about in “The Look.” First of all, this isn’t the 80s and secondly, well he isn’t a female. Rather, all his attributes lend themselves to him being a picture-perfect Sam LB in the Yellowjackets’ system.
Say it’s the 4-4 scheme that makes him so good if you must. Talk about how he’s had great teammates in the past to learn from in Brady Ankrom and Eric Brown. Some of those things are true, but a lot more of it is him.
Don’t let his laid back attitude at practice fool you, either.
Allen’s got the guts. He’s got the smarts. He’s got the athletic ability. He’s got the desire. He’s got a great role model. And above all else, he’s got the attitude to cause big problems for the Yellowjackets’ opponents. It’s as simple really as 1-2-3 or A-B-C.
Everything starts with his eyes. Those windows-to-the-soul light up whenever he talks about hitting someone on the football field. And then when he is on the turf, it is like he is a man possessed and wanting to hit someone every play.
Once he’s got an opposing lineman or blocking fullback nice and frightened with his gaze, then his physical gifts add to this intimidation factor. By deadlifting close to 500 pounds and generally being near the top of every lifting record for his year, the man’s strength proves he’s a force to be reckoned. Opponents know there’s a runaway freight train about to bowl them over and now he’s already in their heads before the snap of the ball.
Upon “Hike!,” he becomes a blur of a player. Someone always thinking and being able to get sideline to sideline with an impressive speed. So even if the play is run away from him or he needs to drop back in coverage, there’s little standing in his way from making the play. But, it doesn’t stop there.
As terrifying as all of that may seem, he’s always learning and thinking about the next play sometimes even during a tackle. Scary, yes. But, perhaps just how intelligent he is comes best summed up in this quote from his coach, “I keep giving my niece a hard time all the time, he is the type of guy she needs to try and go date,” Chris Beck said.
Relationships aside, that entire package is coming to a football stadium near two Little Kanawha Conference teams alongside Waterford, Warren, Weir, Fort Frye and Magnolia as well as the rest of the Yellowjackets’ home games.
And he’s going to bring the entire ensemble while trying his best to channel Brown through his play. “Every single practice that guy went hard and he went all out of a tackle and that is just the way he lives his life,” Allen said. In other words, no ones getting away from Allen – ever.
“I just want to hit someone on every play,” he said. Indeed.
Second guess coach Beck all you want. Moan that Williamstown’s found yet another Class A All-State First-Team worthy linebacker. Opposing coaches can try to slow him down, too. None of it is going to matter.
“I have a lot of confidence in Rickie, and I think he is going to have a big year for us,” Beck said. “I’d be more surprised if he wasn’t a first-team all-state player this year.”
Allen’s certainly got the gifts to make such an honor a reality. Now, he just needs to go do it.
Contact Joe Albright at email@example.com.