Camp Q&A: LB Mike Nixon

One of the stars of training camp so far is LB Mike Nixon. He has been active on defense and impressive on special teams. Now, with Donald Butler on injured-reserve, there is a chance for Nixon to sneak onto the back end of the roster. He explains how he got to this point in this exclusive interview.

For a scouting report on Nixon courtesy the publisher of Devils Digest, click here.

Mike Nixon's one of the most prolific tacklers in ASU history. He finished a four-year career with 246 tackles, eight interceptions and three forced fumbles. He is also one of the Devils' most versatile products, having played the Will, Sam and Mike spots.

LaShana Marshburn: Why did you decide to sign with the Chargers?

Mike Nixon: I think the Chargers have great situation. They are looking for some depth at linebacker and for some help on special teams. Plus, it'a a winning team and it's close to my home, so everything fit well.

LM: What other teams made a run at you?

MN: I went to rookie camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Washington Redskins were also in the mix. But the Chargers showed the most interest.

LM: How did the program at Arizona State prepare you to compete for a roster spot here in San Diego?

MN: We were really well coached on the defensive side of the ball. The coaches were sticklers for detail. Coming into practice with the Chargers, I felt like even though I was making the adjustment from a 4-3 to a 3-4, that the basic concepts were still the same as we used in college. Our coaches did a great job of teaching us.

LM: Other than the change in scheme, what's the biggest adjustment you're facing as your transition from college into the pros?

MN: There's a big change from a physical standpoint; everybody is an extremely good athlete. Also, the mental aspect is a huge jump. In college, we might only have 15 defenses, and in any game we'd play about eight of them and try to be really good at those. In San Diego, we probably run about 40 or 50 different kinds of blitzes.

LM: What has the on-the-field experience been like for you so far?

MN: It's exciting to get this opportunity. All you can ask for is the opportunity to get your foot in the door and you have to make the most of it. I was a little bit star-struck at the beginning of the offseason program, having watched all these guys on TV, but then you settle down and have to prove you belong.

LM: Where must you still improve in order to show that you belong?

MN: I need to be more consistent. Going from high school to college is big and going from college to the pros is even bigger. You're up against people who have done it in the NFL for five or six years and now you try to eliminate mistakes as quickly as possible and show the coaches you can be counted on.

LM: Have any of San Diego's veterans helped you during this process?

MN: All the vets are really good to the rookies. Shaun Phillips is the most talkative in the media room. I just watch the way he prepares. Whether he's working hard or just doing his stuff, he's always having a good time. That's somthing that kind of rubs off on the young linebackers.

Can Mike Nixon win a roster spot? Talk about it inside the message boards.

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