Dixon accepts challenge from 49ers coaches

Dixon accepts challenge from 49ers coaches
October 8, 2011, 12:36 am
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SANTA CLARA -- When the 49ers brought in three veteran free-agent running backs for tryouts on Tuesday, it did not escape the attention of Anthony Dixon."I'm not going to say I didn't see it or I didn't hear about it," Dixon said Friday as he sat in front of his locker after practice."They want me to bring it even more. I feel like I have, but there's always room for improvement. I'm down for it, so I'm ready to go."Dixon, a sixth-round draft pick in 2010, carried the ball 70 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL season out of Mississippi State. But rookie fourth-round pick Kendall Hunter beat out Dixon for the backup job during training camp.
Dixon said head coach Jim Harbaugh, running backs coach Tom Rathman and special-teams coordinator Brad Seely have each challenged him to improve every aspect of his game."Coaches are just trying for me to be perfect," Dixon said. "That's the way I see it. They want me to be perfect, and we all know how hard that is to achieve. But they feel like I can do it, and I feel like I can do it.""They want me to be just that much more crisp. I'm down for it. I've accepted it (the challenge), and I'm ready to go."Dixon has been primarily a special-teams player for the 49ers. He played just two snaps of offense while starter Frank Gore and Hunter have combined to take the vast majority of the plays.On a third-and-1 on the final play of the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys, Dixon gained 6 yards off left tackle. The 49ers went on to score a touchdown on the drive. It was the only time Dixon touched the ball through four games.With Gore hobbled with an ankle sprain, Dixon expected to see some action Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. But he never got onto the field for any offensive plays."Yeah, that was disappointing," Dixon said. "It definitely threw my attitude off a little bit. He (Harbaugh) challenged me to get my attitude back in check, too. I got to work on getting my attitude back into shape and being that much more polished on my plays."While Harbaugh and the coaches have asked Dixon to turn up his level of execution, the head coach has requested that he tone down his action on special teams. Dixon said Harbaugh has told him to stop talking to the opponent's sideline after plays."It's what he wants me to do," Dixon said. "It's the Harbaugh way. I got to learn to do things the Harbaugh way, and then maybe I'll see the field some more."I'm ready. I can't wait to get the opportunity. I feel like I can bring another dimension to the offense. I just got to wait for my opportunity. . . . It kind of messes with my attitude sometimes, but I know coach wants me to get (it) right, get special teams right, be perfect on that."So how did Dixon perform in the week of practice after accepting the challenge from the 49ers' coaching staff?"I definitely picked it up, working harder," he said. "I'm just trying to get perfect and hope I can go out there and deliver a perfect performance."

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