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One-on-One with the Pirates
, August 21, 2010

By Ron Cherubini

Q&A with Justin Dixon

By Ron Cherubini
All rights reserved.

When Justin Dixon came to the East Carolina football program, he did so as a rare, consensus, elite-level prep prospect. Widely regarded by recruiting services as a top 25 linebacker nationally, Pirate fans and coaches were eager to get him on the field and it didn’t take long, as he stepped into the rotation at defensive end as a true freshman. And, as a true freshman, he played remarkably.

That Dixon was moved to defensive end at all is a testament to his physical strength and football IQ. At that position – the first time he had played it – it was clear that he was, really, the biggest force on the defensive front, particularly in regards to getting pressure on the quarterback. When he was lost for the season in the fourth game of the year, also lost was ECU's pressure.

Now, with the 3-4 installed, Dixon has been moved back to his natural position at outside linebacker and he is 100% healthy again. Without a doubt, Dixon is a premiere linebacker and will be something to watch as he and his retooled defensive mates set out to resurrect the Pirates' defensive reputation.

Justin was kind enough to sit down for a chat with Bonesville to share his insights on the upcoming season.

Justin Dixon (5) in action last season (ECU SID photo)

One-on-One with Justin Dixon

Q: You had a pretty nasty injury that cut short your ECU debut in 2010. Can you give us an update on how you are feeling?

A: I am 100%... my knee feels good… I feel good. I have full use back… full movement. I have full strength back, full speed back. I’m ready to go.

Q: Back to OLB, physically are you where you want to be to play that position versus what you were doing to be a DE?

A: I am… definitely and I didn’t drop any weight getting there either. I got a little stronger, got a little bigger and I am stronger mentally. I am cool with whatever position they want to put me at, so it wasn’t like I wanted to be a linebacker. Linebacker, defensive end, I am ready to go whichever position, but right now, I am back at linebacker right now and working hard there.

Q: What did you learn playing DE that can apply to this position in this defensive scheme?

A: Definitely the pass rushing techniques. I am still responsible to rush the passer (at OLB) so that (experience) definitely helps me going into this season. I’m not at defensive end now, so I am standing up, but the hand movements, pass rushing drills, they all will help me with my role this season.

Q: You and your teammates really experienced the worst case you could have last season. How do you individually approach this season and what are you and your teammates talking about in regards to improving?

A: We have to be on the same page, be in each other’s corner, stay together as a unit and be a smart football team. Do the little things that make you better. When you watch film… you're never perfect and you do see those things that you are like, ‘Why did I do that?’ But if we keep going full speed at all times we will be OK. We are all human, so there will be mistakes, for sure. We have to all be there, 100% on every play, and that will minimize the mistakes that hurt us the most (the big plays).

Q: What player on this team do you most respect and why?

A: Hmmm. There are a few guys I really, really respect. I respect Dominique Davis… he’s a cool guy. He came and gave me words of encouragement when I needed it and he’s definitely the leader for this whole team. Our defensive guys look to him too, you know. He is our quarterback. He’s the leader.

Q: What player on this offense would you hate to have to play defense against?

A: We got Dominique Davis, we got Lance Lewis, Reggie Bullock… that whole wide receiving corps really. But Davis, man, I am glad I don’t have to chase that guy around and if I was on the other team, I wouldn’t want to play against that guy.

Q: Talk a little about the impact that Coach (Jeff) Connors has had on you and the defensive guys?

A: Coach C has got my knee back to 100% and he has me and the whole team stronger and better conditioned. He is a great guy, cool guy, who knows how to work with each of us. And, definitely, when you look around, we all look better, stronger and on the field you can see that we are playing smarter and tougher. He is very cool guy.

Q: Personal expectations this season?

A: We want to win Conference USA. That is what I want to do, and go to a bowl game and win it. We as a team want to win the conference and win a bowl game. That is the goal.

E-mail Ron Cherubini

Ron Cherubini Archives

08/22/2011 03:28 AM


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