Army offensive coordinator Ian Shields has been hard at work during spring drills trying to improve…
Army Spring Depth Chart Review: Fullbacks
Starter: Larry Dixon #26 So.
Back up: Hayden Tippett #45 Jr.
Player to Watch: Dan McGue #43 Jr.
Larry Dixon had a terrific freshman year as ArmySports.com predicted before last season. He won the starting job in the second half of the year as a plebe. Dixon finished the year with 87 carries for 542 yards, averaged 6.2 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns. Late in the year after getting most of the reps he had a 57-yard run versus Vanderbilt, a 30-yard touchdown run against Fordham, a 55-yard run versus Rutgers, a 15-yard touchdown run against Temple where he ran through three tackles and a 31-yard run against Navy. Dixon will only get better. He's a big time talent and is the best sized speed freshman at Army since Akili King. He has a tremendously powerful lower body, huge thighs with impressive leg drive. Dixon is a natural runner with a low center of gravity. He has exceptional balance and very quick feet. He has an explosive burst, is extremely physical and is very difficult for one man to tackle.
The only negative in his game was he seemed to add too much muscle and weight last year. He played a little heavier than he did during his MVP season at USMAPS in 2010. Larry was caught from behind by the pursuit on his longest runs. This off season he has focused on speed work in coach Gerch's strength and conditioning program. Dixon seems to have lost a few pounds and gained a step. Dixon ran over three defenders during the Armor-Infantry spring game scoring a 19-yard touchdown off a screen pass. Expect Dixon to have a terrific season at B-back.
Dixon's workout buddy is now his backup. Junior Hayden Tippett was a direct admit player who was originally recruited more as a linebacker. In high school after his senior year Tippett was named the Class 4A Division I Desert Sky Region Defensive Player of the Year. Hayden did play fullback in high school and was moved to that side of the ball at West Point. He is a very hard worker in the weight room and is one of the most improved players on the team. Tippett ran well (11 attempts, 77 yards, 7.0 avg., 1 TD) in limited appearances demonstrating both power and strength last season. Hayden's speed work has paid off as he looked more explosive off the snap while maintaining perfect pad level during spring practice. He secured the win for the Armor team in the spring game when on third and 7 from his squad's own four he broke free for a 16-yard run allowing the Armor team to run out the clock and secure the win. Tippett's powerful build is very similar to former Black Knight fullback Collin Mooney. He should see a lot more playing time at fullback this fall.
For the second year in a row at fullback we'll mention a senior as the player to watch this year with the caveat that the offensive MVP at the prep school is probably the player watch in the future. Senior Dan McGue initially won the backup job with his physical play last spring but lost it soon after Larry Dixon set foot on Blaik Field. McGue showed his leg strength in scoring on two short runs during the 2011 Black and Gold game. McGue left the team for a short time last year before returning. McGue isn't as talented and as fast as Dixon or Tippett but he can contribute if needed.
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