Bloomfield, Rams ‘itching for a title’

Bloomfield, Rams ‘itching for a title’
July 23
00:00 2015

In above photo: Michael Bloomfield is key figure on a Rams defense that ranked fourth nationally in two statistical categories last season. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

For defensive end Michael Bloomfield, the images are still vivid.

He walked off the field with a great sense of unfulfillment in the aftermath of Winston-Salem State’s 21-17 upset loss to Virginia State in the CIAA championship game last November.

This season-ending defeat ended the Rams’ 32-game conference win streak.

But most importantly, it cost them a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs. WSSU would be forced to watch the action as bystanders for the first time in three years.

“No question, we’re motivated for the upcoming season,” said Bloomfield. “We missed out on last year after winning conference championships in the past. So yes, we’re itching for a title right now.”

Bloomfield, a 6-foot-3, 245 pounds senior, is the heart of the defensive line, a group that goes two-deep at each position.

The D-trench crew typically sets the tenor for what transpires at the line of scrimmage.

A year ago, WSSU ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense (13.4 points per game) and total defense (274.7 yards per game).

“My role is to get all my guys in line so we can have the No. 1 defense in the CIAA,” said Bloomfield a senior Computer Science major from Jacksonville. “We believe that with our front line and linebackers, we can control the run as well as the pass. If that doesn’t happen, we’re not going to win anything.”

Because of the Rams rotation on their defensive front, Bloomfield doesn’t log as much playing time as many of his CIAA counterparts.

In his case, it’s not about how many minutes he plays.

It’s all about what happens when he’s in the game.

As a junior, he had 38 tackles (including 9½ for lost yardage) and 8 sacks.

“With a good rotation, your line will be fresher late in the fourth quarter when you’re scratching for stops,” he explained. “When you do get in, and it’s only for four plays, you have to get at least two tackles and one sack. You make your reps count.”

As a collegian, Bloomfield has forged a reputation as a relentless defender who can change the complexion of a game at any moment.

That explains, in part, why he’s considered a strong candidate for CIAA Defensive Player of the Year honors this fall.

The Rams, 9-2 last season, suffered heavy losses on defense.

Entering spring practice, there were questions.

Was there enough returning talent on hand to fill the void created by departing senior linemen Conor O’Neal, Casey Davenport, Duvontae Covington and Alfy Hill?

Will this be a rebuilding year for a young team that will most likely struggle?

Bloomfield expects the Rams to pick up from where they left off a season ago.

He liked what he witnessed during spring drills.

“I came away with some pretty good impressions,” he said. “We had a low scoring spring game (20-16), which means that the defense, as a whole, did its job. I believe we’ll be even better with the freshmen and transfers that we have coming in.”

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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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