COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The toughest challenge for Texas A&M's Alton Dixon moving from safety to linebacker is overcoming the weight difference.
The senior says "The hardest thing is being 209 pounds and
playing against some 300-pound monsters."
But he's found away, ranking second on the team with 71 tackles.
He leads the team with 21 tackles since switching positions before
the Aggies' October 18th game against Texas Tech.
Defensive coordinator Joe Kines thought Dixon's instincts and
speed made him a good fit for linebacker. He said Dixon never
griped about getting a new assignment so late in his career.
But it's not like Dixon hates playing his new position. He says
he likes the aggressiveness of his new role.
The Aggies (4-6, 2-4 Big 12) play at Baylor (3-7, 1-5) on
GRAY MATTERS: Freshman Cyrus Gray was named the Big 12's
special teams player of the week. That's after the 5-foot-10,
188-pound former DeSoto star ran for a school-record 261 yards on
kickoff returns in last week's 66-28 loss to Oklahoma.
Gray's day included a 98-yard return for a touchdown, A&M's
first since Kerry Franks ran back a 99-yarder against Texas Tech in
2006. Gray has 988 kickoff return yards this season and needs only
seven against Baylor on Saturday to set a Big 12 record.
Gray worked as a backup running back in the preseason, and Coach
Mike Sherman said Gray took some time to learn how to return
kickoffs. Now, Sherman says it seems like Gray has found his niche.
Sherman also continues to use Gray at running back and he ranks
sixth in the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage, averaging 138.2 per
game. He needs only 46 yards to crack A&M's top-10 in all-purpose
yardage for a season.
INJURY UPDATES: Sherman expects freshman receiver Jeff Fuller
and sophomore receiver Terrence McCoy to return this week after
they missed Saturday's 66-28 loss to Oklahoma with injuries.
Fuller strained a quadriceps muscle and McCoy sprained his foot
Sherman also expects junior running back Mike Goodson to be
ready for Saturday's game as he continues to recover from a
sprained left knee. Sherman was less confident about the status of
freshman safety Trent Hunter, who left the Oklahoma game with a
sprained ankle. Hunter is A&M's third-leading tackler.
EXTRA POINTS: The Aggies have 65 victories over Baylor, the
most for A&M against any opponent. A&M has won 20 of the last 22
meetings. ... Sophomore quarterback Jerrod Johnson has 19 touchdown
passes this season, and one more will give him the single-season
school record. ... Justin Brantly could become the first Aggie to
average more than 43 yards per punt in four consecutive seasons.
He's averaged 45.9 yards on 43 punts this season. ... Goodson needs
47 yards to become the 15th Aggie to reach 2,000 in his career. ...
Underclassmen have accounted for 75 percent of A&M's total offense
QUOTABLE: "It's like taking your kids on vacation. You get all
five of them in the car, and one half don't want to go and the
other half want to go somewhere else, and you and your wife are
saying, 'Why are we doing this?' Playoffs are a little bit like
that. Not everyone is going to be happy all the time." - Sherman,
on how he feels about the idea of a college football playoff.
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