Notre Dame confident it can manage the Michigan noise

Notre Dame confident it can manage the Michigan noise
September 5, 2013, 8:30 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- By virtue of the uniform they wear, Notre Dame players know what a hostile environment can sound like.

Almost everywhere Notre Dame goes, it's met with an amped-up crowd, one that'll do everything in its power to create an atmosphere that makes communicating difficult for the Irish offense.

The left side of Notre Dame's offensive line was together two years ago, when Notre Dame took the field as the opponent for the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. That game's attendance -- 114,801 -- stands as the largest in the history of the venue.

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"It was amazing," guard Chris Watt recalled. "You could barely hear what's going on."

Notre Dame's hoping the cohesiveness along its offensive line, and with quarterback Tommy Rees, helps mitigate the headaches caused by such a boisterous crowd.

Center Nick Martin has never run a silent snap count before, and along with right tackle Ronnie Stanley will have his first true road test on Saturday. Martin's brother, right tackle and team captain Zack Martin, said there haven't been any problems working with a silent snap count in practice this week.

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"It's a lot of pressure on Nick," he said. "We have to kind of go off him. But he's been rock solid all week."

Success with a silent snap count isn't a given. Georgia coach Mark Richt pointed to it as one of the reasons for his team's downfall last weekend at Clemson, facing a raucous atmosphere in Death Valley.

That put quarterback Aaron Murray, who was sacked four times and hurried on plenty other snaps, under quite a bit of pressure. In a three-point loss, it was one of the deciding factors that went against Georgia.

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In a game that'll likely be close, Notre Dame can't afford to have much swing in Michigan's favor.

"If we're not getting off the ball fast enough, Michigan's D-line is so good at penetrating that it might be a problem," Watt said.

But with Watt, Zack Martin and second-year starter Christian Lombard having been through deafening road atmospheres before, the Irish are confident the noise won't get to them.

"We've been up there before, we've been in the thick of it before," Zack Martin said. "Obviously we got new guys out there, but our coaches do a great job getting us ready during the week. We're blaring loud music, trying to get as close as possible to mimic what they'll bring."