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Cierre Wood suspended for two games

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Notre Dame's much-touted depth at running back is going to be tested early, as coach Brian Kelly announced Sunday that first-string tailback Cierre Wood and reserve defensive end Justin Utupo have been suspended for the first two games of the season for violating unspecified team rules.

"Our players are aware of the standards I set for our program, and that failure to meet my expectations will result in consequences," Kelly said in a release. "Justin and Cierre violated our team rules, so I've suspended them for the first two games of the season."

The pair will miss Saturday's opener against Navy in Ireland and the home opener on Sept. 8 against Purdue. They'll stay home with Tommy Rees, last year's starting quarterback, and linebacker Carlo Calabrese, both of whom are suspended for the Navy game after their arrests in May following an off-campus party.  

Wood rushed for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns last season, starting nine games while splitting carries with Jonas Gray. In his absence, the official Irish depth chart lists Theo Riddick as the starter, with George Atkinson backing him up. Riddick only carried 14 times last year for 63 yards, as he spent most of the season at receiver, where he caught 78 balls over the past two seasons. Atkinson only had nine carries as a freshman last year, but the dynamic runner returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. USC transfer Amir Carlisle is recovering from a broken ankle, and likely won't be ready in time for the Navy game. With redshirt freshman Everett Golson making his first collegiate appearance at quarterback, there won't be much experience in the Irish backfield.

Utupo played in 12 games last season, mostly on special teams.

Also noteworthy on the depth chart, Louis Nix III will start at nose guard ahead of Kona Schwenke, junior Prince Shembo and sophomore Ben Councell will start at outside linebacker, and Nick Tausch is listed as the starting kicker.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on August 26, 2012 2:26 PM.

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