Some throws seem like they are never going to reach their intended targets. Some throws most certainly aren't going to reach their intended targets ... it's just a matter of whether they are going to find an unintentional target and get taken back the distance for a score.
Although he is only a sophomore, Dickson has firmly established himself as LSU's go-to receiving tight end. In an offense that has increasingly made use of the position, Dickson offers a level of confidence to quarterbacks that is typically reserved for wide receivers like Early Doucet. In a world where tight ends have become synonymous with blocking, Dickson conjures up images of former Tigers like David LaFleur, Robert Royal, and Brian Kinchen.
Dickson's receiving capabilities were on display last Saturday night against Louisiana Tech, despite the fact he only had two receptions for 30 yards. His first came during LSU's fifth possession of the game when he hauled in a 16-yard reception on a second-and-seven from the Tigers 37-yard line. That drive ultimately ended in a 44-yard Colt David field goal with 10:40 remaining in the first half that put LSU ahead, 13-7. Dickson's second catch was a bit more game-changing.
"Richard Dickson's a great receiver," LSU quarterback Matt Flynn said. "He's just that guy who's a great athlete and a great football player. You know that when you throw the ball, he's going to do everything he can to get the ball and hang on to it."
Following a Luke Sanders tip of a pass by Louisiana Tech quarterback Zac Champion and an interception by Jacob Cutrera, LSU took over at the Bulldogs 39-yard line with 8:44 remaining in the third quarter. Already ahead 37-7 and fresh off of Jacob Hester's 87-yard touchdown run, the Tigers wasted little time in making everyone know they were doing everything in their power to finish the game.
After a 12-yard run by Charles Scott and a 13-yard pass to Terrance Toliver put the ball at the Bulldogs 14-yard line, Flynn dropped back and found Dickson wide open in the end zone for a touchdown with 8:02 showing on the clock.
"We only get so many opportunities," Dickson said. "I don't want it to be my fault on my end when Matt (Flynn) gets me the ball and for me to drop the ball."
Dickson wouldn't say he has the best hands of all the Tigers, just that he has "been lucky and executed when I've gotten the ball my way." Getting the ball into the hands of any and all receivers – Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux ended up completing passes to six different players for 274 yards against Louisiana Tech – was part of LSU's game plan coming in, according to Dickson.
"We knew they were going to run a bunch of Cover Zero, and that gives us the opportunity to get big plays," Dickson said. "Coach (Les) Miles told us before the game we're going to take our shots, and we took them and executed on them."
After playing four opponents close and winning three games on their last drive in three of those games, Dickson stated that the Tigers mindset was to come in and blow Louisiana Tech out to "get back on our groove and get ready for the next two SEC games."
The next two conference games, the last two games of the regular season, find LSU in the position of playing for everything. Even with two straight losses, the Tigers would go to
"In my mind, the SEC's the best conference in the nation," Dickson said. "You all have seen the losses this week, this year. I mean, everybody's beat everybody. It's almost impossible to go through the SEC and go undefeated. If you should do that, you should no doubt in my mind be in the national championship. Everybody plays so hard."
For LSU, a team that has had a target on its back every week since Week 1, it seems like they have gotten the best from opponents, especially in the conference. That grind certainly has taken its toll not only on the Tigers but on foes as well.
"It always seems like that," Dickson said. "We always play all these close games. For some reason, whoever we beat close loses the next week. Man, that just shows how tough this league is. I mean,
For Dickson, one of last Saturday's most joyous moments was seeing another teammate, another tight end and a mentor, catch a touchdown pass. With 4:42 remaining in the game, senior Mit Cole hauled in his first career touchdown pass from 2 yards out.
"I'm so glad for Mit (Cole)," Dickson said. "Mit's been a big influence on me coming here. He came in – I got to play a lot last year. He showed me the ropes. I mean, I was young; didn't know what I was doing. But he took care of me, made sure I was doing the right thing. I was excited. I was probably the most excited guy on the team when he got that touchdown."
With 22 receptions to his credit this season now, Dickson is the Tigers' fourth leading receiver. Whether he's blocking or running routes and making catches, he has shown that LSU's tight end position, now and for the future, is in good hands.