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Notre Dame safety Austin Collinsworth

Notre Dame safety Austin Collinsworth talks about the biggest stride he made during fall camp and returning from the injuries that kept him out of last season. By Tony Krausz, The Journal Gazette

Ready to return

SOUTH BEND – Safety Austin Collinsworth is ready to return and running back Amir Carlisle is ready to play his first game for Notre Dame.

Both players missed last season because of injuries, but both are ready for the No. 14 Irish's season opener against Temple on Saturday.

"It's going to be crazy to go into my first actual game playing here," said Carlisle, who was granted a waiver to play for the Irish last season after transferring from USC but missed the season after suffering an injury before the season.

"I have to sit back and count my blessings. I can't wait personally. It's a sense of responsibility for me that I have to go out there and battle for my teammates and everyone who supports this university."

Carlise, a junior, said he is looking forward to a lot on Saturday.

"Just coming together with the team, and before the game, just putting on the gold helmet, and running out the tunnel and getting the opportunity to showcase what I can do, and hopefully, help my team win," Carlisle said.

Collinsworth is returning from shoulder and back injuries that required surgery, and the senior said it took a while before he felt like his old self.

"In the spring, I didn't feel like I was 100 percent," Collinsworth said Wednesday. "Then I got into summer, and mentally I understood everything. I had a really good grasp of the defense, but physically, I really got back to where I was in camp."

Collinsworth played in 26 games in his first two seasons, mainly on special teams and had eight tackles. He has also returned eight kicks for 178 yards.

"I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous," Collinsworth said. "Certainly, you are a little bit scared that you are not going to get back to where you used to be. But I knew through hard work I could get myself back physically."