As a part of the ongoing Gillette Deodorant "Built for Training" web series hosted on NFL.com, Steelers rookie offensive lineman Mike Golic, Jr., and veteran Ramon Foster gave an exclusive interview on their lives on the gridiron, training camp and insights on their personal lives. After compiling questions with a little help from an exclusive group of NFL and Pittsburgh Steelers insiders and bloggers called 'The Steel Foundry', the following questions and answers were exchanged.
Mike Golic, Jr., was born to be a football player. At Notre Dame, Golic Jr., played offensive guard and center. Golic, Jr., was fortunate to have the tutelage at an early age from his father, Mike Golic, Sr., who played defensive tackle in the NFL for eight seasons with the Houston Oilers, Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. He also has an uncle, Bob Golic, to look up to. Bob Golic played fourteen seasons in the NFL in three decades with the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Raiders. Brothers Bob and Mike Sr., were both Notre Dame alumni as well. On November 8, 2012, Golic Jr., was selected to the Capital One Academic All-District V team and on December 6, 2012, he was selected to the Capital One Academic All-America Football team with teammate Manti Te'o. Golic, Jr., made his commitment to Notre Dame on the ESPN Radio show "Mike & Mike" where his father is co-host with Mike Greenberg.
The interview began with questions for Golic, Jr.
Christina Rivers: As an offensive lineman were you exposed to "zone blocking" in college? If not does this scheme offer any challenges for you?
Mike Golic, Jr.: Actually, we did a lot of zone blocking [at Notre Dame], especially last year with the ground attack we had going there. So getting here [in Pittsburgh], it was nice to see that was getting implemented because it was something I was familiar with. But you know the zone scheme does present a lot of challenges. There are a lot of little nuances to something that seems very simple from the outside. And you know that’s what we try and work on every day.
Rivers: When you were selected as an undrafted free agent, what about the Steelers did you like and what advice did your father give you? Did he secretly want you to play for the Tennessee Titans since he was a player with the Houston Oilers? Was that a big rivalry in your house when you were young?
Golic, Jr.: I wouldn’t say there was ever really a rivalry in my house when we were young just because me and my brother always played different positions and you know my sister was off doing her own thing. A lot of the way we wanted to push ourselves came from each other. We were always there to motivate each other.
Golic, Jr.'s brother, Jake Golic, was a senior tight end at Notre Dame in 2012 and the two have grown up playing mainly on the same teams.
Rivers: Who was your biggest mentor growing up, and how has that leadership helped you in training camp with the Steelers?
Golic Jr. : In life, my best mentors have been my parents. My mom and dad have done an unreal job from the time were little. They instilled great values and ideals in myself, my brother and sister. I credit everything I am as a person to how they raised me. I can’t thank them enough for all they’ve put in to help get me here. No one gets here by themselves. Guys like Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey [have been mentors to me] but even younger guys on the line like John Malecki, Mike Adams, Dave DeCastro. That whole crew on down have down a tremendous job of taking us rookie linemen into the fold and being available when we need help.
Rivers: The Steelers Veterans are known for mentoring young players. Which veteran offensive linemen have reached out to you and assisted you in the development of your technique and assignments. Was their willingness to help you a surprise?
Golic, Jr. : I wouldn’t say surprising but it made the transition a lot easier. Obviously, the whole group – as far as being veteran guys – is still for the most part a young group. [They] were willing to help out a lot and reached out to us [rookies] even thought they didn’t have to make sure that if we needed something, they were there for it.
Rivers: What has it been like to be selected for the Gillette program and working with [Ramon] Foster? What has he done to help you out the most?
Golic, Jr: It’s really been a lot of fun. Obviously, being part of the Gillette Deodorant "Built for Training" program has been really beneficial to me just to, not only experience all this, but to work with a guy like Ramon. Like I’ve said before, he’s a guy who was in my position when he came into the league and is now where I want to be as a guy who is an established starter here and someone the team counts on to do well. All of the help on and off the field has been greatly appreciated.
Questions for Ramon Foster
Rivers: What did you think when you got asked to do the veteran/rookie deal with Gillette and has it taught you anything about how to promote teamwork by being with Mike [Golic, Jr.]?
Foster: [The program] has taught me a lot. We’re as good as our young guys. That’s first and foremost so when we were asked to reach out to them for the Gillette Deodorant "Built For Training" program, it was second nature. We had already been to dinners and looking at film before this program started. To have it on film [on NFL.com/builtfortraining], it’s something to document.
Rivers: With the new zone scheme on the offensive line, what has been the hardest thing to translate following the change?
Foster: The steps [have been the toughest aspect of the new zone blocking scheme]. The technique of it is the biggest thing. Everybody can run block but the outside zone, you have to run a little bit more outside. It’s small technique things that you need to fine tune.
Rivers: What goals have you set for the 2013 season as far as being a veteran on the offensive line?
Foster: Consistency and dominance. Be more of a force in this league. Those are my [top] goals right there.
Rivers: Which Steelers players mentored you when you first came into the NFL?
Foster: It was like a family that was helping me. You had Willie Colon, Trai Essex, Chris Kemoeatu, Max Starks. Those guys took me under their wing so that’s why it’s easy for me to help out a young guy like Mike – because the same thing was done for me.
Questions to both Golic, Jr. and Foster
Rivers: What is the biggest lesson that either of you have learned about training hard and being ready for not only camp, but pre-season and regular season games in the NFL?
Foster : One thing about practice is carrying practice to the game. I think that’s the biggest component right there. Alright, you did it well in practice but can you carry it out in the game?
Golic, Jr. : Being ready at all times. In the position I’m in right now, it’s being able to do a lot of things. But like Ramon said, it’s being able to take the things we learn and, when your number gets called when you least expect it, you have to be ready to take all of those things – not only that you’ve repped but you’ve seen other guys rep – and put that on field and put that on tape.
Episode 3 of the Gillette series will air on NFL.com on Aug. 20. To see a great inside look at Foster and Golic, Jr. thus far, be sure to watch Episode 2: "Built for Training: Classroom."
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