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


“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


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.


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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