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Please look at this for me. I feel I'm getting closer...

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by YoungGun7, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. YoungGun7

    YoungGun7 New Member

    As he stood in the tunnel, only minutes away from the start of his college career, one thing separated Anthony Dixon from his future.

    The 6-foot-1-inch, 235-pound running back stood behind a thin, white generated cloud of smoke; on the other side awaited 55,000 crazed fans and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

    "Running out of that tunnel, that's when I realized I was playing in the SEC," Dixon said. "I had never played in front of so many people; all those fans really shocked me."

    From that moment on, Dixon has been adding his name to the Mississippi State record books.

    In that game alone, Dixon rushed 14 times for 64 yards, becoming the first true freshman to lead the team in rushing in his first career game.

    Last season, the Bulldogs were looking for someone to replace running back Jerious Norwood, who left MSU as its leader in rushing yards, but Dixon never expected to fill the role.

    "I didn't really think about it," he said. "All the pressure to replace Jerious was on Brandon [Thornton], but when I became the guy, I took the responsibility head on."

    Dixon made his first start against LSU in week five and says that making the transition from high school to college wasn't easy.

    "Last season I was missing assignments, fumbling the ball and running the wrong routes," he said.

    Dixon says that there wasn't a certain game in which things began to slow down for him, but a few serious words from his coach made him improve his work ethic.

    "I think it was the game before the Georgia game. Coach Croom called me out in front of the whole team and said I had some soft runs," Dixon said. "From that moment on, I felt I had something to prove."

    Croom remembers the confrontation.

    "He was acting like a freshman," Croom said. "He didn't know how to work and therefore wasn't playing up to his ability. This season, however, Anthony is at another level."

    Against Georgia, if Dixon didn't prove anything else, he proved he could find the end zone. Dixon rushed 12 times for a mere 37 yards, but scored three touchdowns.

    That game set the tone for Dixon who finished the season with 668 yards on 168 carries and nine total touchdowns, all new records for a freshman.

    Dixon gets his motivation to succeed from his family, especially his mother Velma.

    "She's made so many sacrifices for me and my brothers. She's had a lot of jobs to help support us, and I just want to see her laid back in that big house and that big car. I've got to reward her," Dixon said.

    Translation: Dixon wants his No. 24 jersey in the NFL.

    "I want to be the best,' he said with a smile. And his coach knows he can get there.

    "There's no question Anthony can make it in the NFL," Croom said. "I've coached some great backs in my time, and he's just as good."

    While the NFL might be Dixon's ultimate goal, his goal for this season is simple.

    "I want to get to a bowl game," he said. "I want to see our fans happy and to prove the negative people wrong. If I rush for 1,000 yards and get 20 touchdowns, I'd be happy with that. But if I only rush for 500 yards and three touchdowns, and we go to a bowl game, it wouldn't matter."

    Dixon isn't the only one who wants to get to a bowl this season. After three straight 3-9 seasons under Croom, this season becomes critical for a coach whose seat has gotten hotter.

    "I've heard this might be Coach Croom's last season, but we don't worry about that. He's our leader and we're behind him 100 percent," Dixon said.

    Dixon, along with quarterback Michael Henig, are Croom's main weapons on offense.

    "Every play we run on offense will go through No. 24 (Dixon) and No. 7 (Henig)," Croom said. "That's where it all starts on our offense."

    Thursday night, when Dixon runs through that same cloud of smoke, gone will be the shock of the crowd and the mistakes of a freshman, but one thing will remain: his urge to succeed.
  2. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    It's good, but there's a couple things I want to know less, more about...

    What sort of sacrificies, how many brothers, how many jobs? You got some good stuff on the surface, but go deeper. That being said, I don't like the NFL stuff. Does this guy have a legitimate opportunity to play in the NFL? I know Croom said it but, I don't believe it. Every sack o' shit thinks he's going to the NFL and one that rushed for 668 yards last year — even in the SEC — doesn't sell me.

    You have some sweet stuff — where Croom calls him out, that is an awesome anecdote, stronger than the white smoke in the tunnel. You don't get this stuff often. How did he call him out, what did he specifically say, how did he feel after getting lambasted in front of his peers?

    Also, what about his teammates? I don't know about the access at MSU, but a friend/player quote could go a long way in a profile. At worst, you might get an embarrassing story or interesting fact about your subject.

    It's worth it to talk to everyone. Report the fuck out of it, then worry about the rest. Feel free to disagree with me, but I think you've got a good idea what you are doing, but when you've got one of these profiles, the more you know — in detail — the more it shows.

    Keep it up though, it's a solid story.
  3. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    I agree with BB, it's a solid story. Some things I would change.
    You said Dixon has been adding his name to the record books, but how many records? Just one?
    Also, I would add Mississippi State sophomore in first graph, or Mississippi State running back before his name. Personally, I'd like to know whom he plays for right away; but that's just me.
    Lastly, I'd clean up "in that game alone" to just "against the Gamecocks."
  4. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Hey Youngun',

    Thanks for posting.

    Just the lede to talk about this morning. I'm not seeing it the way you want me to.

    - Is the smoke the only thing between this kid and his career? Or is it the fans? Reread your opening few sentences and you'll see what I mean. It's a little tangled as it stands.

    - I'm also pretty sure that there's more between this young man and the NFL than a smoke machine - I think the image isn't strong enough to carry the weight you're giving it now.

    - The idea of running out of the tunnel and suddenly realizing what the future might hold is a good one. I'd play that up rather than assign much value to the smoke.

    - At the end, small point, it wouldn't be the same cloud of smoke. So if you rejigger the top, be sure to rejigger the bottom.

    Thanks again for sharing your work with us.
  5. YoungGun7

    YoungGun7 New Member

    Thanks for the advise. Do you guys think this would make a good clip?
  6. i think you have some good content

    but too much quote - graph - quote - graph - quote - graph for me

    also remember: no comma since your conjunction doesn't start a main clause: [/i]Dixon rushed 12 times for a mere 37 yards, but scored three touchdowns [/i]

    and In that game alone, Dixon rushed 14 times for 64 yards ... 64 yards might be a lot for a freshman, but "in that game alone" kind of sets the reader up for much more, so those 64 yards seem kind of weak

    i agree that you could use a third source on this one. you have the making of a good story here

    and I think your last graph is trite and overwrought ... "gone will be" ... a little pretentious there

    let the quotes work for you, they're good
  7. dawgpounddiehard

    dawgpounddiehard Active Member

    Heed the advice everyone has given so far... but to answer your original question, yes, you are getting closer.

    You're lede puts your audience in a situation that relates to your overall theme. And you tie your final graph in with the lede. It rewards the reader and it's something I enjoy to see/use.

    As for the use of quotes, there are a lot of things in quotes you can use to write yourself. Does that make sense? Look at a well-written piece by some of the better SI writers... they don't go graph... quote... graph... quote... they take some of their quotes and incorporate that into their writing. For some reason I'm having trouble explaining this... let me know if you're having trouble understanding.

    Finally, you can tighten up your writing. Hell, everyone can.
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