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Dickson Moves To DT For Cowboys

LARAMIE — Spring camp is the time for position changes. There were the ones announced before camp: Logan Wilson from weakside linebacker to middle linebacker, Gavin Rush from left guard to center, Jaylon Watson from defensive end to fullback and Dalton Fields from nose tackle to offensive guard.
Then there are the moves that come mid-camp. For Kendall Dickson and Jerard Swan, that meant two very different things.
Dickson’s position change is not quite as comfortable. He moved from defensive end to defensive tackle during the third week of spring camp.
When he was first approached about helping out depth on the interior, it wasn’t the position itself that had him worried.
“As long as I’m playing for Wyoming, I don’t care what position I’m in,” Dickson said. “Just play it and play it hard.”
What had him worried is the fact that he’ll have to gain 20 to 30 pounds.
“When I was in high school, the most weight I gained in a year was probably 20 pounds, but that was my growing days,” said Dickson, who’s currently at 250 pounds. “Those are probably over now. There is a lot of eating. A lot of lifting. Just try to keep racking it up.
“I know that during the summer, workouts will be different. We won’t be burning as much. But in the summer is when I plan to really pack it on if I want to survive.”
Dickson, who also redshirted in 2016, felt that he was just getting comfortable as a defensive end when the news came.
“I was really getting into it and really connecting and starting to click,” he said. “So part of me kind of struggled at first. I was kind of torn. But now I feel confident there, and I’m fine with it. Don’t bother me. It never really did in the beginning. I was just a little skeptical and scared myself, mostly.”
He had one practice to prepare at his new spot before the Cowboys headed to Casper for their first scrimmage of the spring.
“At the beginning I’d just run as hard at people as I could,” Dickson said. “Just use my hands hard and just run after them and go fast. If I mess up, at least I’m going to do it 100 miles an hour. That’s what (defensive ends coach A.J.) Cooper taught me when I was a D-end. So just kind of took that to my head and used that until I kind of could iron out what I was doing.”
Dickson said tackles like Youhanna Ghaifan, Conner Cain and Sidney Malauulu have helped him with the move. Like, for example, when he would line up in a defensive end’s stance as a defensive tackle.
Cain likes Dickson’s upside.
“He’s so strong, just naturally strong, and he’s only been here for one year,” Cain said. “I mean, hell, I’m not even as strong as he is and I’ve been here for three years. I think he’s going to be a really, really great addition to the interior. Especially when he puts on a lot of weight. That kid is Nebraska strong. He’s going to be a really good addition.”
Dickson played eight-man football at Bruning-Davenport High School (cooped with Shickley to form BDS). He was a middle linebacker, which essentially meant being a run-stopper, he said. That skill translates well to his new position on the interior line.
Dickson’s time at a small high school also helped prepare him for the speed of college, he said.
“When I got back here, yeah, college is a very high pace, but the play felt a little slower than what I was used to,” said Dickson, who also played 11-man before changing high schools. “Because in eight-man, if they get out on the edge, they’re gone. You can’t get them unless you’re there.
“... Eight-man taught me a lot, how to understand 11-man better. Because when you lose all those people and all these things, you kind of have less responsibility and can kind of see things better.”
Now, he’s learning to see things from yet another angle.