Whoever thought that Notre Dame Football came before rules and regulations as well as conduct, has another thing coming. Just ask suspended quarterback Tommy Rees. Rees, along with linebacker, Carlo Calabrese, got into a scuffle with a police officer during the offseason and was suspended for the season opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland. Now we hear of another two players who have just been suspended for the first two games of the regular season… starting running back, Cierre Wood, and defensive end, Justin Utupo. It was unclear exactly what had happened with these two players. Coach Brian Kelly simply said that they had both violated the team’s rules and that is why they were being suspended.
This is a huge blow to the starting core of this football team. They have been under heavy scrutiny over their last few seasons for what some say is poor play. Of course, their difficult game schedule has not helped them in any way. Wood, who was their leading rusher last season, ran for 1102 yards and had nine touchdowns. What will really be missed is his 3rd down efficiency…he is 90% with 5 yards or less in third down situations. Theo Riddick who played both running back and wideout last year will take Wood’s place for the first two games.
Utupo has seen mostly special teams action over his career with Notre Dame, so that will not be as much of an impact as the loss of Wood. Still, this means 4 starters have been suspended for Notre Dame’s first game. As much as I hate to say this, because I am all for second chances, I love that a power house like Notre Dame is risking so much for core values. That is the type of school I would like my kids to attend. Besides the first game overseas against Navy, both Wood and Utupo will also miss the September 8th game at home against Purdue.