Lyerla enters camp with high praise

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Colt Lyerla hopes for a season where he can tote the rock and run down hill.

The multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife can be described as a versatile hand tool that combines several individual functions in a single unit. That same definition can be used to describe Oregon junior tight end Colt Lyerla.

Everywhere you look on the internet you see predictions for Colt Lyerla going in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Here,here, and here to name just a few. Every one labels Colt Lyerla as a player with multiple skill-sets that make him a very rare prospect for NFL teams.

With all the praise and hype for Lyerla the 6-foot-5 tight end isn't focused on what people outside the program are saying and is instead focused on simply helping Oregon get better.

"It's fun to read, but it is all just talk," said Lyerla. "Those people aren't out here working with me every day. I can't listen to that and I just have to keep working and focus on being out here."

Lyerla says in the off season he focused on dropping weight to improve his speed while also being able to improve footwork and his blocking.

"Speed. I needed to drop some speed and hopefully it will help my success out in the open field," Lyerla said. "I really just worked on footwork, from coming from my stance to be quicker to beat defensive ends, to getting my hands inside to get better leverage. I think sacrificing a little bit of weight for speed was a good decision."

That speed, agility, and sheer athletic talent has allowed Lyerla to be deployed all over the field in his first two seasons. He's been a tight end, receiver, fullback, running back, and also finding himself on multiple special teams units. That plan appears to be in place once again for Lyerla in 2013.

"I have no idea, that's the crazy thing with this offense. I could be anywhere. We'll have to just wait and see," Lyerla said of his possible uses within Oregon's offense.

His ability to play all over the field along with his strength and speed has made NFL GMs drool over his potential. NFL Scouts and Mock Drafts say Lyerla is a physical freak that can be used all over the field at the next level and is a potential mismatch.

"I definitely want to be that type of player, have that ability, but I don't even know what my role will be until we get to a game week," said Lyerla.

Lyerla says he enjoys switching positions and playing all over the field. The chance to play running back one week to being slotted out into the slot and play a hybrid receiver provides excitement and a chance for him to showcase his skills and at the same time help Oregon win football games.

He also enjoys having the ball in his hands and being able to run downhill, "[To] have the ball in your hands and run down hill, I definitely enjoy that and look forward to that this year."

Notes from Lyerla

Colt mentioned he has dropped 10-15 pounds of weight this off-season and is now currently weighing 250 pounds. He also said his preferred weight for the season is around the 245-255 mark and that his weight will tend to fluctuate between that during the season. He talked a lot about improving on his speed and being able to help Oregon in more weighs. I asked him if his desire to increase his speed is a factor in being able to be split out into the slot more often and he said yes. He also pointed out to me the desire to become a better blocker on the line of scrimmage against defensive ends and linebackers. Both areas Lyerla addressed are areas NFL scouts say he needs to get better at.

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