Notre Dame football: Irish await big challenge in Oklahoma

Bob Wieneke
BWieneke@SBTinfo.com

SOUTH BEND

The first five or so minutes of Brian Kelly's weekly press conference were used by the Notre Dame football coach to run through the strengths of Oklahoma, this week's opponent.

He praised Sooners coach Bob Stoops. He lauded the Oklahoma offense, which averages 490 yards per game. Same for Oklahoma's defense, which is allowing an average of nine points per game.

"I don't know of any more superlatives that I could use," Kelly said. "We're going to have to play extremely well."

The 22nd-ranked Irish (3-1) host the 14th-ranked Sooners (3-0) Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:42 p.m. (Eastern) and the game will air on NBC.

Oklahoma's last visit to Notre Dame came in 1999, Stoops' first season at the school. The Irish won that game 34-30. Notre Dame was a 30-13 winner over the Sooners last season in Norman and leads the all-time series 9-1.

"It's gonna have to be our best game of the year in all phases, including special teams," Kelly said. "This isn't a week where we have to get our guys' attention."

On the depth chart released Tuesday, one safety spot has Austin Collinsworth or Matthias Farley listed as the starter. Sophomore Elijah Shumate is listed as the starter at the other spot with freshman Max Redfield listed as his backup. Collinsworth, Farley and Shumate have logged the majority of the minutes at the position this year.

"I think you now can look at Shumate, Collinsworth and Farley and you've got a three-person rotation that's working out pretty good for us," Kelly said.

Kelly also said Tuesday that he expects defensive end Sheldon Day, who sat out last Saturday's victory over Michigan State with an ankle injury, to practice on Tuesday. Day is listed as the starter on this week's depth chart.

The game has been designated as a "green out" game in which fans are asked to wear green, and that 40,000 pom-poms will be handed out. Kelly added that the team will not wear green jerseys.

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly makes a point to his quarterbacks during last season's 30-13 win over Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.SBT File Photo/JAMES BROSHER