West Virginia expects second year growth from LB Dixon
Neal Brown didn’t hold back when discussing the potential of redshirt junior linebacker Lance Dixon.
“My expectation is for Lance Dixon to make huge jump going from year one to year two,” the fourth-year Mountaineers head coach said. “He’s had a good off-season.”
Dixon, 6-foot-2, 214-pounds, utilized a full off-season in the strength and conditioning program with the football program to put himself in a much better situation than where he was a season ago.
Because he elected to leave Penn State through the transfer portal, the Michigan native didn’t have the benefit of going through a full off-season of conditioning last winter and spring.
After he arrived in Morgantown, Dixon was thrust into action and while he displayed flashes at times overall he never was able to capture the element of consistency. That winter away from the weight room was a wake-up call to Dixon who realized that it is essential in order to prepare for the grind of the Big 12 Conference schedule. That made the past few months critical in his development.
“Right now, I feel way better. I feel like I can do a lot more, have a lot more stamina and feel like I can do a lot more things,” Dixon said.
It made things more difficult for Dixon as he was asked to play outside the box more than he did during his time with the Nittany Lions so he was technically not only adjusting to a new location but a new position as well. Luckily playing outside the box is something he is comfortable with and his new spot affords him the opportunity to do that around 50-percent of the time.
“I like how they let their WILLs run out in space and do more things,” he said.
An athletic specimen, Dixon certainly looks the part this spring and has dropped around 10-pounds while increasing his speed in the process. That part of his game is one of the strong suits and he enjoys any chance that he is given to flash his speed on the football field.
Dixon played in 10 games last season, starting 4 of those, and finished with a total of 36 tackles. Admittedly he didn’t start to feel comfortable in his role until mid-way through the season and dealt with an injury that sidelined him for a pair of games as well.
“It set my back physically but I stayed in the playbook trying to learn more and the bowl game I felt way better,” Dixon said.
The former four-star prospect selected West Virginia in large part because of that freedom that he is given to play more than just as an in-the-box linebacker. He did visit campus as a sophomore in high school for a camp, but things never really progressed further than that under the previous staff.
But when it was time to leave Penn State, the opportunity at West Virginia was just too good to pass up.
“It seemed like the best option for me,” he said.
Now, the Mountaineers are hoping the time spent both learning the scheme and shaping his body will have Dixon primed to make that second-year leap as a standout on the defense.
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