Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 16, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 27 of 106

Zack Martin put his NFL plans on hold for a year, due in large part to the opportunity to play alongside his brother on the Irish offensive line in 2013. photo by bill panzica will be making sure Nick's all right and doing everything all right, but at the same time they're both confident and really good players for us," Watt said. "Off the field, they have a great bond. I've gotten the chance to know both really well during my few years here and have a chance to hang out with Nick a lot." Watt said the competition between the Martins is fierce, and the bond unyielding. "[Nick] used to come over to our house a lot last year and they have a great competitive spirit among one another, whether it's video games or ping pong or anything like that," said Watt, who added that he too feels like Nick's older brother. "There always seems to be some sort of fight or competition. "Zack usually wins it because he doesn't take Nick very seriously. He just says, 'Nick, no. I'm the best.' And then he just walks away." Typically a first-year starter like Nick might be timid around a pair of wily veterans laden with accolades amassed during impressive careers, but it is because of his relationship with Zack and Watt that he feels comfortable jawing with them or providing his own pointers based on what he notices. After all, an offensive line is only as effective as its communication. "I described [Nick] as being a little more assertive last spring, sort of coming into his own," Watt said. "Before he would just take it, now he dishes it right back, which is good. He's grown up a bit and he can tell

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