The Baylor Bears finished the 2012 season as one of the hottest teams in college football. Their strong finish to the season coincided with their much-maligned defense, which finished ranked No. 113 in scoring and No. 119 in total defense, turning a corner. The defensive unit finally started to make some stops and it resulted in four straight wins to close out the season, including a 49-26 blowout of the UCLA Bruins in Holiday Bowl. The Bears are looking to get that kind of work from their defense from the start in 2013, and safety Ahmad Dixon will be the key.
Last season, Baylor was limited by the lack of speed in their secondary and thin ranks on the defensive line. That forced the defense to play a lot more zone coverage to keep from getting burned over the top, but it opened themselves up to getting carved up underneath. This year, Baylor wants to play tighter and have their corners play more man to man coverage to make the throwing windows for opposing quarterbacks a little bit smaller. Dixon will be pivotal to making that happen.
This spring, coaches moved the senior back to his traditional safety position where he will be able to make plays all over the field as the defense’s most physically skilled talent. He’ll be looking to build on a strong junior campaign where he finished third on the team with 102 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss, to go along with a pair of interceptions and three pass break ups.
He will be tasked with playing center field for the Baylor defense and cleaning up anything over the middle in support of the team’s cornerbacks. He will have to play everywhere (or at least seem like he is) disrupting plays and making tackles from sideline to sideline to jumpstart this Baylor defense to a quick start in 2013 to spark a push for the Big 12 title. Can he be the difference-maker the Bears need?