Mike Bloesch (pronounced Blesh) just finished his second season as the offensive line coach at the University of Tulsa. In his first season as the Golden Hurricanes offensive line coach Tulsa set a school record with eight 300+ rushing games, which was also the second-most in the NCAA in 2016. That year, Tulsa also set an NCAA record in becoming the first DI school to have a 3,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season. His 2016 offensive line would go on to have 4 all conference players.
I first met Coach Bloesch before my senior season at the University of Houston. Before assuming his role at Tulsa, Coach Bloesch (a former UH O-Lineman himself) was a football analyst on staff at Houston specializing in helping offensive line. I had 4 different offensive line coaches at Houston, so I also had countless offensive line assistant coaches as well. The thing that stood out most to me about Coach Bloesch was how well he understood his role on the staff. We had many assistant coaches that either tried to be THE offensive line coach, or would actually undermine what the head OL coach was saying because they didn’t agree with it. Coach Bloesch did neither of these things and in that part of my college career it was refreshing to say the least! In a 5 year span, Bloesch went from being the offensive coordinator at a high school in Texas, to being the offensive line coach for a record setting offense at the University of Tulsa. He obviously knows football, but I think what helped him make such a quick climb was his ability to know and thrive in the role he was given, and his ability to relate to players and allow them to feel how much he cared about them as people. Something that is hard to find at the collegiate level! Coach Bloesch is one of the few coaches from my playing days that still keep in touch with me on a regular basis, and I think that is a testament to how much a coach truly cares about his players. How willing is he to check up on and help out someone that can no longer benefit him as a player.
Coach Bloesch has been a coaching mentor to me for several years, and is someone that I contact regularly for advice when it comes to football and the coaching profession. I was extremely excited when he agreed to answer these questions for me. I was even more excited after reading his answers! Just like always, Coach Bloesch was very thought provoking with his answers and I hope you coaches get just as much out of them as I did!
1. What’s something you believe about the offensive line (or football) that the majority of your peers disagree with? While many coaches spend all of their time developing and fine tuning the starters of the offensive line I take pride in working with EVERY guy in the room EVERY day we step in the meeting room or on the field. I believe that we are only as strong as our weakest link because I have been through a couple of seasons where I have needed guy # 6,7 and 8 at some point. Obviously I am not able to spend as much time as I would like but I believe that the attention to detail that EVERY guy in my room receives on a daily basis has led us to be Top 15 nationally in Rushing the last two years.
2. What was the most productive run play that you ran this year? Why do you think you ran it so well this year? Inside Zone. Inside Zone is a Day 1 install play for us that my guys truly believe in. By the time Spring Ball and Fall camp is over each year, we will have repped Inside Zone hundreds of times. This gives my guys the confidence in critical situations to block any front/stunt/or blitz thrown at them.
3. If you could go back and give advice to yourself at 25 about coaching, what would it be? Take advantage of the opportunities you have to be around your guys everyday! When I was 25 years old, I was the Offensive Coordinator at Temple HS in Temple, TX. I sometimes took for granted the ability to be around my players everyday. Now that I am a Division 1 Football coach I spend so much time on the road recruiting and really miss the ability to work with my guys year round.
4. What is the most important thing you look for when hiring an offensive line coach? I want to know how well you develop players. As a former HS coach I spent the first 6 years of my career working with and molding whatever bodies walked through the door. Typically I was handed the guys that no other position coach wanted. I took an unbelievable amount of pride in turning those kids into All-District football players and Champions on the field.
5. When watching another offensive line play, what would they do that would make you think highly of that offensive line coach? I look for little things. Do they finish blocks? Do they finish around the football?Are the technically sound? Do they play well as a unit?
6. If you could meet any coach (living or dead) and talk to them for 1 hour who would it be and why? Nick Saban- I have always admired his ability to live up to and exceed sky high expectations year in and year out. I am always looking for new ways to motivate my guys and he is obviously one of the best in the business.
7. What’s the worst advice you hear the most that is given to offensive linemen or coaches? I think the one thing that sticks out most to me is coaches who push and push their guys to be “BIG”. High school kids who are being told they need to weigh 315 or 330 so they can play in college are being set up for failure. I could care less what a kid weighs when he’s in high school. I want to see his frame, his work ethic, his strength, technique and athleticism. We will get him where he needs to be weight wise once he steps on campus. This is much easier than having to trim a guy down for a year before we can build him back up the right way.
8. What has become more important to you in the last few years and what has become less important in coaching offensive line? Important- I think consistency in what we do has helped us achieve success on our Offensive Line at the University of Tulsa. My guys know our schemes, drills, practice expectations and performance standards like the back of their hand. I obviously adjust schemes and practice week to week but the overall standard they are held to never changes.
Less Important- Trying to be cute and installing new run schemes and drills each week. If you are always changing, what are you and your guys going to hang their hat on when the game is on the line?
9. What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made in your coaching career? My willingness to move cities when an opportunity was presented to me.
10. Who comes to mind when you hear the term successful coach. Bill Belichick
11. Coaching is teaching, if you had to teach at a high school, what would you teach?Sr level Government/Economics
12. Who was your biggest mentor while you grew as a coach? Philip Montgomery- Recruited me out of high school to play for him, mentored me as a young HS coach and then hired me when I was ready to coach on his staff.
13. If you were only allowed to go in to a game with 3 run plays, what would they be? Inside Zone, Power, Outside Zone
14. What is your favorite football movie? Remember the Titans
15. What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever gotten? Stop worrying about whats next! Grow where you are planted!
16. If you were only allowed to use 2 run blocking drills the entire season, what would they be? Sled and Boards.
17. If you were only allowed to use 2 pass blocking drills the entire season, what would they be? 1 on 1 vs DL for live reps and a Man Set Drill that I use a few times a week.
18. If your child told you they were going into the coaching profession, for any sport at any level, what advice would you give them? Work Hard, Enjoy the process and Love what you do!
19. What type of music do you listen to when breaking down film? I don’t really listen to tunes when I’m watching tape. I enjoy some peace and quiet.