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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Wicks helping Irish offensive line set lasting example

Senior offensive lineman Brennan Wicks walks down the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium.

Senior offensive lineman Brennan Wicks certainly had a lot on his plate throughout his time in South Bend. As an aerospace engineering major, offensive lineman and Navy ROTC member, one could certainly say he kept himself busy during his time under the Dome. For Wicks, this choice was always a factor in his decision to come to Notre Dame. It would allow him to operate at the highest level possible in both college athletics and academics.

“[Notre Dame is] just a place where you can maximize your potential as a person,” Wicks said. “And there's a faith aspect that goes into that as well, I'd say.”

Despite Notre Dame being an ideal place for his college career, balancing a demanding major with a demanding football program had its learning curve. Wicks noted that it was harder as a younger player to do so, but that once he got experience in both departments, it came more readily to him. This, he said, was largely due to the qualities football instilled in him.

“It was definitely more difficult when I was a younger player,” Wicks said. “I think it's one of the things football establishes in you, is accountability to yourself and your teammates on the football field. And part of that is taking care of your business with academics and learning how to manage your time. So it's something I've definitely gotten better at over time.”

Part of that accountability comes from the bonds Wicks has with his teammates. He said the longer he has been on the team, the closer he has gotten to his teammates. The culture he has been a part of since freshman year has helped him grow as a person both on and off the field. 

Some of that development involves being a leader for those same teammates on the field. For Wicks, everyone can be a leader in their own way, which allows the team to remain bonded throughout any struggles or changeover, especially in the coaching staff. The offensive line that Wicks is a part of has especially experienced this.

“I think the biggest thing that I've learned is that leadership comes not just from the guy at the front of the room, it comes from everybody,” Wicks said. “The O-line has that culture built into it. So even with the leaders changing, we still hold each other accountable, still a tight group that does what's required.”

Especially as a senior lineman, that leadership role has grown for Wicks and is one of the largest takeaways he has from his time at Notre Dame. Even though the offensive line has been celebrated in the media, the unit focuses on “doing things the right way,” choosing not to worry about the press and instead leading by example.

“To be a good leader, you have to lead by example,” Wicks said. “So even if you're not the guy who's maybe contributing on the field as much, you have freshmen coming in, and if they see one guy not taking something seriously, you're not giving it your all, they think ‘Well, that might be okay.’ So you learn that you have to take care of your business and be a good example and then help other people.”