Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- 48 games and counting --- that's the consecutive starts streak for UMD senior captain Tom Olson, with the record of 54 being held by former teammate Garth Heikkinen.
"I think a lot of it's luck, and I think Garth would say the same thing," Olson said. "I've been pretty fortunate to not get hurt. I've got some experience, and the big thing is it lets me help the younger guys out and tell them some things that I went through a couple years ago."
It's that part - the on-the-field help - that is most beneficial to these Bulldogs as Olson continues to rack up starts and game experience.
"Especially this year when we have some guys starting for the first time, they're able to help those guys along," UMD offensive line coach Peter Lue said. "Some stuff I'm able to teach, but some of it comes from playing and doing things on the field. I can't always hit everyone, so those older guys definitely pick up the slack a little bit."
"It helps because you can tell where guys are going depending on the defense and where they're line up," Olson said. "You can teach younger guys like Peter Bateman; it's his first year starting on the left side. I can teach him what I had problems with and what guys used to do to me."
With offensive linemen now holding two of the top three spots as far as all-time start streaks go, UMD head coach Curt Wiese says it's time to thank some not-often mentioned members of the UMD staff.
"I think it speaks volumes not only for those two guys, but also for our strength staff and our training staff," Wiese said. "Those guys have done a good job taping the players up and getting them back on the field and making sure they're healthy for every Saturday."
Olson will need seven more Saturdays to break Heikkinen's all-time record of 54, but the bigger picture should he get there means a whole lot more.
"Garth and I have talked about that because, if I break his streak, it means we're going deep into the playoffs," Olson said. "That's what we both want."