The Sun Devils are 7-0, and a large part of their success has been due to the steadfast and at…
‘Uncle Mike' Relishes Leadership Role
"We're working on fewer things, but getting better at them," he states. "Last year we had a lot of things that maybe we weren't quite as good at and this year we're going to have four or five defenses that when we need to we can execute and make plays out of them."
Last spring Nixon walked-on after playing three years of minor league baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nixon, a former standout quarterback at local Sunnyslope High School, began his ASU career as a safety. Shortly after, the 6-3 232 Nixon established himself as a linebacker.
With major League Baseball's spring training taking place all over the valley last month, some may wonder if Nixon itched to resume his duties behind the plate as a catcher. Nixon contends that he has been busy running plays and conditioning, so he hasn't really considered it. "I'm happy with what I'm doing," he claims. "I keep in touch with a lot of my old teammates . . . I'm really happy to see them succeed and they cheer me on in the fall."
Influenced by his father and older brother, Nixon states he is glad he made the choice to return to his first love, football, but says playing minor ball day in and day out did provide him with a good work ethic to pass on to his younger teammates.
He has a positive outlook for the season ahead. Yet, as he and the defense go through spring practice, he emphasizes that nothing can compare to game situations. "Practice is good but once you're under the lights it's really a different game out there," he says.
He admits that sometimes the team thinks too much and makes mistakes, but they continue to work at eliminating errors and consistently playing well, both individually and as a team.
"We've got a lot of guys back on defense as well as offense. Right now they're [offense] on fire and if they keep that up it's going to be a good season," assures Nixon.
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