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Irish Insights

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Notre Dame defensive end Sheldon Day says he is ready to play a larger role after missing two games and being limited in another because of a sprained ankle.

Notre Dame's Day is ready

SOUTH BEND – Sheldon Day is not hard to spot at 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds.

And there have been plenty of pregame sightings of the Notre Dame defensive end in warmups before games, but he has been largely absent during games since suffering a sprained ankle in a 31-24 win over Purdue on Sept. 14.

Day was a game-time decision and didn't play in a 17-13 win over Michigan State on Sept. 21. And after going through pregame drills, he was held out of a 35-21 loss to Oklahoma on Sept. 28.

He was barely used in a 37-34 win over Arizona State on Oct. 5.

Day's days of being a game-day spectator should be over when Notre Dame (4-2) plays host to USC (4-2) on Saturday night.

"I'm feeling good this week," Day said Wednesday. "I feel like I can really impact the game."

Day started the first three games this season and has seven tackles with one for loss. Coach Brian Kelly said he is a big part of the starting defensive line that includes preseason All-Americans Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III.

"He doesn't stay blocked," Kelly said. "One of the things that makes a defensive lineman a great player is he gets off blocks. Sheldon gets off blocks and is a great pass rusher. He's a guy that early in the season was a great pass rusher and wasn't staying blocked. He'll figure into our game plan on Saturday."

As for why he took longer than expected to come back from the injury, Day said he didn't feel like he could push off his foot and deliver a blow to his opponent. But he is past that now.

"I'm pretty close (to 100 percent)," Day said. "I'm pushing off and doing the things I used to do before the injury occurred."

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