Atmosphere Is Everything

Notre Dame has struggled on the field this season, but that isn't much concern to Matt Hegarty. The offensive lineman from Aztec High School (N.M.) committed to Notre Dame back in for specific reasons, and none of those things have changed.

When Matt Hegarty is on campus this weekend, he isn't looking to be sold on Notre Dame, because he already is. He's really looking to be a part of something that he's heard about, but never experienced.

"I'm mostly excited to see the gameday atmosphere and everything that surrounds that," Hegarty said. "Even when the stadium was empty when I was out there for the junior day, you could kind of feel the atmosphere. I'd love to get a feel for that and be a part of that this Saturday.

"It'll be good to see all the coaches again and be around the program a little bit more. My two little trips is all that I've really had out there, so just getting out there again will just make me feel that much more comfortable. It's also nice to be able to spend more time with coach Warinner and talk X's and O's with him."

Hegarty is hoping to see the Irish pull off the upset on Saturday against Utah. Although he's watched his future teammates struggle, he understands that the team is in transition. Specifically he has faith that the Notre Dame coaches will get things turned in the right direction.

"A lot of people are giving them a tough time for how the seasons gone," Hegarty explained. "I don't think you have to knock them for what's going on right now. I think they're showing that they need to change the culture there. Not just defenses and offenses, but also the culture. I feel that takes some time, and I think they deserve to be given that chance given their track record."

Clay Burton, Aaron Lynch and Jordan Prestwood weren't patient and de-committed from Notre Dame a couple weeks ago. While Hegarty won't hold anything against them, but certainly isn't going to follow their lead.

"A couple weekends ago it was a little disappointing," he said. "When Prestwood and then Burton and Lynch left, I think Brad Carrico sent some messages out to everyone to hold things together. They left for their own personal reasons and I understand that. It's hard to watch your team lose, but you have to stand behind them and know things are going to get better.

"The reasons I joined on are all still there now, as when I committed back in April. They still have a solid coaching staff that's going to make things happen. They still have great academics, a strong alumni base. All the factors are still there and nothing has changed for me."

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