SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - It is a little noisy this week around the Notre Dame campus, and it has nothing to do with the undefeated start by the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish.
It has everything to do with their first visit ever to Virginia Tech, where the 24th-ranked Hokies will enjoy the advantage of playing in a packed and deafening Lane Stadium after running onto the field to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
After dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage against Stanford in a 38-17 victory last weekend, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wants to see a similar performance on the road against the Hokies (3-1), who are coming off a 31-14 victory at Duke.
“We’ve got to be able to do that on the road against a quality opponent and in an incredible atmosphere,” Kelly said Tuesday. “(This) is something that we knew we were going to face . we get a chance to work on the things that have embedded in our program over the last seven months in terms of handling these tough environments.”
Less than a year ago, one of those environments was too much for Notre Dame: Last Nov. 11, the third-ranked Irish were blown out 41-8 on the road by seventh-ranked Miami after Hurricanes fans taunted Notre Dame’s buses on the way to the stadium.
“I was public in saying that I don’t think I even handled it the right way and giving them enough information about the situation,” Kelly said. “I can’t be caught off guard, and maybe I was caught off guard because I didn’t prepare them the right way. We won’t be caught off guard going into Lane Stadium.”
Kelly plans to show his team video clips of the stadium, where fans are being asked this week to color coordinate their outfits to specific sections.
“They will be much more accustomed to the situation,” Kelly said of his players. “They know there will be a lot of orange. The decibels will be loud.”
When asked if he talked to his team about Miami, Kelly said he hadn’t. But things were awfully noisy at times during spring practice and are expected to be again this week before the team flies to Blacksburg on Friday.
“It will be as loud as allowable,” Kelly said with a smile. “On campus, we have some restrictions, but you’ll definitely know that there’s a practice going on. No doubt.”
Kelly expects his team won’t see the Virginia Tech team that was stunned 40-35 last month at Old Dominion.
“Virginia Tech has really shown under coach (Justin) Fuente the ability to score points . and (defensive coordinator Bud) Foster can do about anything from a defensive standpoint,” Kelly said. “And their special teams have that ‘Beamer Ball’ mentality.”
Notes: Kelly talked about his relationship to long-time Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, whose playing and coaching career at the school will be remembered with the dedication of a statue outside Lane Stadium before the game. Beamer goes into the College Football Hall of Fame this December.
“I’ve always admired the way he handled himself both on and off the field,” Kelly said. “He’s a gentleman.”
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