Mike Blazevich is in a good mood on this Tuesday evening, for three reasons.
First, he got to play golf with his girlfriend at Maumee Bay. Second, it’s a beautiful night. Third, he shot in the 80s.
Not bad for a 20-year-old whose sport of choice is college football. The Cardinal Stritch grad, now a 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore free safety at the University of Toledo, has been working his way up the depth chart on defense after the Rockets redshirted him in 2012.
Blazevich didn’t see any playing time last year as a redshirt freshman for UT, which went 7-5 and 5-3 in the Mid-American Conference, but he’s optimistic heading into the 2014 season. He chuckled when he was asked how often people ask him if he’s going to see the field this season.
|Mike Blazevich. (Photo courtesy of U of
Toledo athletic department)
“When I’m home,” Blazevich said, “I’ll bet I get asked that question by three or four people a week if I see people I know. Everyone asks me that question. I have the same answer every single time. I’m working towards (playing) and it’s a lot harder than people think. I’m making big strides, where I can see myself being on the field.”
Blazevich, a finance major who has gained 20 pounds since his playing days at Stritch, has a 3.4 GPA but isn’t taking any summer courses at UT. Instead, he’s getting in some hours as a detailer at a local car dealership.
He said he and his teammates worked out five times a week for three weeks this spring/summer before an off week this past week. Another three weeks of conditioning begins next week and ends around Aug. 4.
The Rockets open the season Aug. 30 against New Hampshire at the Glass Bowl.
Blazevich’s position coach, John Heacock, is also the Rockets’ first-year defensive coordinator. Blazevich is listed No. 3 on the depth chart at safety on a defense that returns one starting safety, both linebackers and all of its cornerbacks.
“We’re just losing a defensive end and one safety (from last year),” Blazevich said. “We have a new defensive coordinator and I feel like the team’s more defensive minded this year. It is a similar game plan to last year.”
Blazevich said Heacock has been building up his confidence since joining the program as a first-year assistant.
“I have to work my way up,” Blazevich said. “He says since he’s been here, I’ve made that progression where I could possibly play if there’s an injury. He says I could be fluid with the defense and be fine.”
Blazevich said he played three quarters in the Rockets’ spring game in April and garnered “six or seven tackles.”
“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” he said. “The speed doesn’t overwhelm me anymore. After two years, it’s normal. I’m used to it. In my mind, I’m really going to be one or two (on the depth chart) this year. I feel I have a chance of playing, just because of the way I’ve progressed this past year and I feel I’m good for those roles.”
If he doesn’t see time on defense, Blazevich said he will be more than happy to earn a role on the Rockets’ special teams units. He hasn’t played special teams since high school.
“It’s just really detailed (in college),” Blazevich said. “In high school you just run straight. In college everyone has a specific role. My role this year would be as a contain player. I would be the guy who would be going down the field and laying back with the kicker, laying the edge. I think that would be a really good role for me.”
Blazevich is the son of Mike and Stephanie Blazevich.