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August 24, 2012

Golic's massive gain

Mike Golic Jr. gained maybe the five most meaningful pounds of his life last month.

Sometime between the final edit to Notre Dame’s media guide and opening day of training camp, Golic bulked up enough to hit the 300-pound mark, noted on the updated rosters handed out at the first practice. Golic’s gains meant Notre Dame’s starting offensive line all hit over 300 pounds.

The fifth-year senior needed every workout and every training table to get there. He considers it a massive achievement in mass.

“I may have gone back for seconds a few times in that last couple of weeks,” Golic said. “That’s been a big goal of mine for a while, so excited about that.”

A week from now Golic will make his first career start at right guard and his first career start at any position as a bona fide first-team Notre Dame offensive lineman. He started the final four games of last season at center with Braxston Cave sidelined, working as a stopgap measure with some success.

Golic entered camp in a supposed competition with Nick Martin for the right guard position, but that never got off the ground. Golic took virtually every first-team right guard rep in camp. Notre Dame’s tackle trouble forced Martin to move outside where he’ll open the season as the team’s third tackle.

“Mike’s been very steady and consistent and is learning how to play guard after spending 15 days in the spring and part of last season playing center,” said offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.

Hiestand couldn’t help but notice Golic’s weight room gains too, even if strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo hadn’t been talking them up. Golic arrived at Notre Dame able to power clean about 275 pounds. Now he’s in the 350-pound range.

“It’s been a drastic improvement and it’s one of those things, going week by week and doing the things coach Longo says,” Golic said. “When you see the results, it’s an awesome thing.”

Golic enters the season not only bigger and stronger, but older and wiser. He laughed about how every player eventually realizes they look better with short hair as Nick Martin walked out of the interview room. When reporters want a big picture look at the program, Golic has developed into a go-to interview.

With so much breathlessness about the next big thing, Golic’s wait-your-turn approach is refreshing.

“I think it’s just when you get to the point I’m at where you’re a fifth-year senior and you want to be one of the leaders on the team that the best way is to lead from the front and to be in a position to help this team the best way possible,” Golic said. “I’m very fortunate to be in the starting five right now and to be in with a great group of guys.
 
“Starting is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not solid and can’t be depended on. That’s what I’m going to work toward every day, to give every play on offense a chance.”

Golic said he has a different energy when he arrives at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex these days as Notre Dame counts down toward its chartered flight to Ireland. The Irish have just five more practices before heading to the airport in advance of the opener against Navy on Sept. 1.

“It’s not one of those situations where all of a sudden it’s Wake Forest and all of a sudden Braxston goes down and you have to adjust on the fly and go in,” Golic said. “You’re asked and counted on to be that guy from snap No. 1 through the rest of the season. That’s something I take very seriously and something the rest of our group takes very seriously.”


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