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April 16, 2012

Golic leans right of center

Mike Golic doesn't care what position he plays this season, just as long as it's of the starting variety. If that's the case, the fifth-year senior and Notre Dame legacy should start lobbying for more reps at right guard.

Because if Golic leaves Notre Dame having accomplished what he arrived here intent on doing two head coaches and four position coaches ago, it's going to happen right of center Braxston Cave.

"I look at it as we've been told that the five best players are going to play on the offensive line and I'm going to go out wherever they put me in this spring and try to show I'm one of the five best players," Golic said. "Wherever they put me in the fall, as long as it's on the field, I don't really care."

Golic doesn't care what position he plays this season, just as long as it's of the starting variety.

Golic has split time between center and right guard during spring practice. During non-contact periods he'll work at right guard with Cave at center. When the Irish jump into team periods Golic moves to center with Cave staying off his surgically repaired foot.

When Golic works at center, sophomore Nick Martin takes over at right guard. Christian Lombard appears to have won the right tackle job over Tate Nichols after working at guard and tackle earlier during spring practice.

"What do you have with Golic? You have some experience. A little stronger physically, maybe not as athletic as Nick Martin," said Brian Kelly. "Christian gives you a little bit of both. I'd say right now you're probably looking at Lombard at right tackle and Martin and Golic fighting it out for right guard right now. It could change."

Golic's experience came via Cave's season-ending foot injury at Wake Forest, putting the veteran in position for the first four starts of his college career. That wasn't how Golic wanted to break into the lineup, but he looks back at that run as when he proved he was worthy of a fifth-year invite.

"As football players and competitors you're always trying to prove yourself, not only to the coaches, but to the rest of the guys on this team that they can have faith in you," Golic said. "That was something big for me in those last four games. Just being able to show this team, 'You can count on me. I'm not going to let things slow down here. We're going to keep moving.'"

Golic took a major step forward in the weight room this off-season when he increased his bench reps to NFL combine quality levels. He hopes for a shot at the next level after this season, just as long as he can win a starting job at Notre Dame first.

While his college career hasn't been easy, Golic said he's come out better for having his faith tested in South Bend. That's part of the reason why his upper left arm is covered by a tattoo depicting the entrance to the Basilica.

"It's one of those things that we all come in here with these hopes and dreams and things don't always go your way," Golic said. "That's part of growing up, that's part of becoming a man. That's something I've definitely had to go through here and work through.

"I've been able to grow up a lot and kind of realize that if things aren't going your way if you keep pressing like happened last year, eventually you get that shot. As long as you stay ready for it, good things are going to happen."

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