Notre Dame is now two practices into preseason camp and perhaps no one is more excited to be back on the field than center Nick Martin and right guard Christian Lombard.
"I've had a smile on my face all week," Martin explains.
Both Irish offensive linemen are returning from injuries, missing the end of 2013 and spring practice.
"I can't wait to get pads on now," Martin said. "Being out and having to watch spring ball for something you love to do, its hard. So i'm really happy to get back out here."
Martin went down with a knee injury against BYU in the home finale last season and missed both the regular season finale at Stanford and the bowl game against Rutgers. His injury required surgery and he missed all of spring practice as well.
Lombard missed the final five games of 2013 after suffering a herniated disk in his back that required surgery. He then had surgery on his wrist just before spring practice.
He too is pumped to be back and Lombard says despite returning from two different injuries, he's not thinking about that at all while on the field.
"If you think about that then you are trying to play not to get hurt and you are thinking--'oh I gotta protect my wrist, I gotta protect my back,'" Lombard says. "You gotta just go out and play your game and that's kind of my mindset whenever I play football and get on the field. Just stay positive and just play."
Lombard is a 5th year senior, having started all 13 games during Notre Dame's 2012 run to the BCS National Championship game as well as the first seven games of 2013 before going out with injury.