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If you ask Notre Dame coaches, they will tell you they have the best offensive lineman in the country in Martin. The two-year starter from Indianapolis has been a rock for the first Notre Dame offense to average 5 yards per rush since 1996.

“Ridiculous,” Chuck Martin said of his left tackle. “He should have two scholarships. He’s been so good every week. So consistent every play. He rarely misses his block. He’s been such a dominant, dominant force for us.”

Watt, a senior, is Zack Martin’s right-hand man.

“I would say we certainly don’t use it 50-50 right and left,” Chuck Martin said. “(Zack Martin) and Watt get the lion share of tough blocks.”

The Irish also have a center who ranks among the best in the country in Braxston Cave, a third-team All-American. On the right side, Mike Golic Jr. holds the guard spot and Christian Lombard is the other tackle. It’s a group that has started every game and allowed only 18 sacks while protecting a first-year starting quarterback in Everett Golson.

Chuck Martin gives plenty of credit to line coach Harry Hiestand, who is in his 30th season in coaching and first at Notre Dame. Martin said Hiestand has taught toughness and technique and Notre Dame will need both to run the ball against an Alabama defense that allows only 2.5 yards per rush, anchored by powerful nose guard Jesse Williams.

“Technically, he’s as good as anybody in the world at teaching guys how to move people,” Martin said of Hiestand. “If you play with great technique you’ve got a chance. If you don’t play with great technique, you’ve got no chance. That’s what we’re up against with Alabama. We have to play with great technique every snap up front or we’ll have zero chance to ever get a yard rushing. If you do (play with great technique), it’ll still be hit or miss, but hopefully you cover up enough people, you’ll get a little bit of movement.”