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McKinner Dixon - "In the classroom, not very good.''

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The loss of McKinner Dixon due to grades bothers me on a personal level, but I know that we also need to discuss how this effects the depth chart as we march onwards with what we hope is a special season.  Distractions have to be left behind.

I'm confused. Dixon has been on campus since the spring semester and in class. I just don't get how he can go from being in class probably for the spring semester and the summer and then be ineligible. Something's not right here, and I'm not sure what it is. It could be a simple case of Dixon not going to class, but he seemed really sincere to be given a second chance.

Again, this is probably one of my biggest faults/weaknesses, is that I tend to believe in people, often to my detriment. In Don Williams' Raider Rants blog, it appears that Leach is now completely indifferent towards Dixon:

Dixon was at practice Thursday night, but Mike Leach said it's doubtful he'll be playing this season. Rather than put Leach's quotes in two places, I'll let you hit the link at the bottom of this entry.

Just like the last time Dixon became ineligible, back in the spring of 2006, Leach didn't seem very sympathetic.

When he was asked Thursday how he evaluated Dixon so far, Leach said: "In the classroom, not very good.''

When a reporter clarified, asking about Dixon's on-field showing this week, Leach said: "It's irrelevant, because if you don't make it in the classroom, you don't get on the field. It's not even relevant. We're not going to rep him until he can get on the field.''

Again, I believed that Dixon was a changed man

Second, is the depth chart. With the loss of Dixon, that means that everyone moves up a spot. I'm wondering if it was intentional by the coaches to have Dixon behind the better player, Brandon Williams, in case something like this happened as it did his freshman season. I think that's a pretty good bet, although that's complete speculation on my part.

End Nose Tackle Tackle Rush End
Jake Ratliff; 6-7/255; SR Colby Whitlock; 6-2/285; SO Rajon Henley; 6-3/266; JR Brandon Williams; 6-5/246; JR
Brandon Sharpe; 6-3/244; JR Chris Perry; 6-3/308; FR Richard Jones; 6-1/272; JR Daniel Howard; 6-3/238; JR
Brandon Sesay; 6-6/279; JR Clint Stoffels; 6-0/254; SO David Neill; 6-5/263; RS FR Sandy Riley; 6-0;237; JR
Ryan Haliburton; 6-4/242; FR Britton Barbee; 6-2/282; SO Joey Fowler/INJ; 6-4/271; FR McKinner Dixon; 6-3/250; JR

This isn't the best situation, but I'm okay with it. With Williams getting a majority of the snaps and Howard, who I think is one of those guys whose motor doesn't stop, is ideal for the end position. Having three quality defensive ends is a luxury, having two quality defensive ends is more reality. If Dixon is ineligible, then it's a crappy reality as I had high hopes for Dixon.

Williams discusses defensive end depth at Raider Rants:

The other good news: Well, it's old news, but it's still worth remembering. As deep as this team is, defensive end is one of the deepest positions on the team with or without McKinner. At left end, it's Jake Ratliff, Daniel Howard and Sesay -- and I believe a lot of Tech fans underrate the first two -- and at right end, it's Brandon Williams, Brandon Sharpe and Sandy Riley. I'll say again, I think Williams will take his play up a notch this season, simply because this is his third year in the program. Two years ago, he hit the ground running to earn a role as a true freshman. Last year, he was second-team all-Big 12. Now he's all grown up -- at least so far as completely grasping what it takes to play in this league.

Last week, Williams had B. Williams, Dixon and Howard all in the same position, but now it's Sharpe and Riley (although Williams RR Football Notebook this morning says otherwise). For the time being, I'm not going to change our depth chart as I tend to think that Sesay and Ratliff will be more than adequate on the left side and Daniel Howard, in my opinion, is right behind B. Williams in terms of making plays and play on the field.

In other words, if I had to rank the defensive ends that I've seen play (thus excluding Sesay and Sharpe) then it would be B. Williams, Howard, Ratliff and Riley. Howard needs to see the field and I'm not sure how that happens as much as I would like behind Ratliff and Sesay.