Apparently the football coaches from around the Southeastern Conference believe Mississippi State senior running back Anthony Dixon can thrive in coach Dan Mullen”s spread offense.
Dixon, of Terry, was named Thursday to the second-team offense of the Coaches All-SEC football team.
MSU senior linebacker Jamar Chaney made the third-team defense. Dixon and Chaney are repeat representatives on the preseason All-SEC squad.
The University of Mississippi placed two on the first team and seven on the overall list.
The University of Alabama placed six on the first team and nine (one player twice) on the overall teams.
Even though Dixon is 626 yards shy of becoming the program”s all-time leading rusher, he might be able to show his all-around ability being involved in the spread.
Dixon said moving to the spread hasn”t been difficult. He just wants to make sure he”s physically ready for the challenge.
“I”ve got to get in shape,” Dixon said. “Running routes and going out to catch the ball is nothing new for me.”
MSU head coach Dan Mullen doesn”t have a target weight for Dixon. He just wants him to be in the best shape possible, whether it”s at 235 pounds or 245.
“I want him to be as big and strong as he can be and be as fast as he can be,” Mullen said in the spring.
Mullen and running backs coach Greg Knox have been pleased with Dixon”s progress and believe he”ll be ready to perform at a high level.
“Anthony Dixon loves the game of football and it shows,” Mullen said.
Dixon had his best season in 2007 (1,066 yards rushing, 14 touchdowns) while leading the Bulldogs to a Liberty Bowl victory.
Despite going down in the 2008 season opener with a broken leg, Chaney got back in shape to regain All-SEC recognition. He led MSU with 89 total tackles in 2007.
After receiving a medical redshirt, Chaney participated in spring practice and adjusted to defensive coordinator Carl Torbush”s Base 4-3 system.
Torbush said Chaney favored his leg at times in the spring, but it didn”t seem to slow him down.
“He never complained and never showed it,” Torbush said. “He brings a great deal of intensity to the defense.”
For Ole Miss, senior offensive tackle John Jerry and senior defensive end Greg Hardy were named to the preseason first team.
Senior wide receiver Dexter McCluster and junior quarterback Jevan Snead were named to the second team.
Senior wide receiver Shay Hodge, senior defensive end Marcus Tillman, and senior kicker Joshua Shene were third-team selections.
For Alabama, senior offensive lineman Mike Johnson and senior wide receiver Julio Jones were named first-team offense. Senior defensive lineman Terrence Cody, junior linebacker Rolando McClain, and senior defensive back Javier Arenas were named first-team defense. Senior kicker Leigh Tiffin was named a first-team specialist.
Sophomore linebacker Dont”a Hightower was named to the second-team defense, sophomore running back Mark Ingram was named to the third-team defense, and Arenas was named a second-team specialist