James Franklin discusses expanded role for LB Lance Dixon vs Buckeyes
Lance Dixon is going to be leaned on early when Penn State takes on Ohio State this weekend.
Dixon is definitely a talented player, arriving at Penn State as a four-star recruit and the No. 9 OLB nationally for the 2018 recruiting class. He appeared in limited action and posted three tackles in 2019, but the Nittany Lions will need him in the first half of Saturday’s big game.
The reason for Dixon’s expanded role has to do with the hit to Penn State’s linebacker depth early this season. Star linebacker Micah Parsons opted out of the 2020 season with Jesse Luketa stepping into that spotlight.
Unfortunately, Luketa was ejected from the season-opener during the second half after being flagged for targeting. That means Luketa must sit out the first half of action against the Buckeyes.
That leaves Dixon to see heavy minutes against Justin Fields and the Buckeye offense. Though it is a tough spot for a young player, head coach James Franklin discussed on Wednesday what he sees from Dixon this season:
James Franklin on LB Lance Dixon who will take on an extensive role with Jesse Luketa out the first half for targeting: "I see him getting better every single day. … Everybody wants it to happen like yesterday. … Really pleased with his maturation."
— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) October 28, 2020
Franklin on linebacker Lance Dixon: "I think a lot of the specific technical, fundamental things of playing linebacker… I think he just continues to grow in confidence. I see him getting better every single day."
— Onward Sports (@OnwardStSports) October 28, 2020
Hopefully Dixon is able to contribute solid, meaningful minutes against a very tough opponent. Saturday’s kickoff is set for 7:30 pm EST on ABC.