Lions' Golladay looks to pick up the pace in Year 2

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay

Allen Park — Lions receiver Kenny Golladay remembers his first encounter with Giants cornerback Eli Apple pretty well. Golladay was in his junior year at Northern Illinois and traveled to face Apple’s Ohio State squad in Columbus.

The defending-champion Buckeyes went in with a No. 1 ranking and pulled out a 20-13 victory in front of a frenzied crowd of more than 104,000 fans.

“We went down to Columbus and they ended up getting us,” Golladay said Wednesday. “That game was a lot of fun. They just came off the national championship and it was the third game of the season and the crowd was packed.

“We were down in the Horseshoe. It was a fun experience for me. It was my second year at NIU, so it was my first time playing in a stadium like that.”

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Golladay gets a reprise this week in the Lions’ joint practices with the Giants. He’s hoping to build off his promising rookie season, when he had 28 catches for 477 yards and three touchdowns. If he stays healthy, he can surpass those numbers and build a rapport with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

More importantly, Golladay is looking to get a better grasp of the playbook, which he said is essential for his growth in his second season.

“I wanted to make sure I honed in on that this offseason and OTAs, before training camp and dive deeper (into the playbook) in training camp, so I can play faster,” he said. “It’s my second year and I want to make sure I have it down so I can play fast.”

Golladay had five starts but also missed five games because of hamstring issues and missed the chance to establish some of that needed chemistry with Stafford. With good health this season, Golladay can be another needed piece to an improving offense.

“I’m still forming a relationship with Matt, even though we played last year and I missed a few games,” he said.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard