RB Cierre Wood, DE Justin Utupo suspended
Starting running back, backup defensive end to miss two games
Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:09
UPDATE: Irish coach Brian Kelly has confirmed Wood's suspension for two games due to a violation of team rules. Kelly also suspended junior defensive end Justin Utupo for two games.
In conjunction with Keith Arnold of NBCSports.com, The Observer has confirmed that Irish senior running back Cierre Wood has been suspended from the team for Saturday’s season opener against Navy in Dublin. Notre Dame later announced he would be suspended for the home opener against Purdue as well due to a violation of team rules.
Junior defensive end Justin Utupo has also been suspended for two games due to a violation of team rules, according to Notre Dame media relations.
The news of the suspension emerged less than a week before the Irish are set to open the 2012 season against Navy in Dublin. The team’s flight departs Wednesday evening.
“Our players are aware of the standards I set for our program and that failure to meet my expectations will result in consequences,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “Justin and Cierre violated our team rules so I’ve suspended them for the first two games of the season.”
Wood, an Oxnard, Calif., native, rushed for 1,102 yards on 217 carries and scored nine touchdowns in 2011 after compiling 603 yards in on the ground as a sophomore in 2010. He was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is annually given to the top college football player.
After the graduation of Jonas Gray and with a first-time starter in Everett Golson at quarterback, Wood was expected to assume an even larger role for the Notre Dame offense in 2012. Senior Theo Riddick, sophomore George Atkinson and sophomore Amir Carlisle, who transferred from USC following last season, will be called upon to carry the load in Wood’s absence. Carlisle is currently sidelined while recovering from a broken ankle and is unlikely to play against Navy.
Wood was held out of the opening practice of fall camp due to medical paperwork issues, Kelly said. Wood has not been available to the media during fall practice.
The Irish will already be without junior quarterback Tommy Rees and senior linebacker Carlo Calabrese after one-game suspensions stemming from an arrest in May.
After not appearing in any games during the 2010 season, Utupo reached the field in 12 games in 2011.