Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood and defensive end Justin Utupo have been suspended two games for violation of team rules, the University announced Sunday afternoon. As part of the punishment, neither player will be able to travel to Ireland.
“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 in a statement. “Justin and Cierre violated our team rules so I’ve suspended them for the first two games of the season.”
The news of Wood's suspension was first reported by NBC Sports' Keith Arnold.
With Wood out, Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III will split the running back duties when the Irish face Navy in the first game of the season in Ireland on Saturday.
Wood did not practice at the start of fall camp for what Brian Kelly called at the time an issue with paperwork. It's unclear if the situations are related.
Wood and Utupo join quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese as players suspended for the first game. Rees and Calabrese are out due to arrests back in May.
Wood, a senior academically with an additional year of eligibility after this season, led the Irish in rushing last year with 1,102 yards and scored nine rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Wood played in all 13 games in 2011 and started nine contests.
Despite being listed as Notre Dame's starter at running back the entire off-season, Wood has not been made available to the media since camp opened in early August.
Utupo played in 12 games in 2011, primarily on special teams, and was a reserve defensive end on the most recent Notre Dame depth chart.