With the Notre Dame vs Navy, Emerald Isle Classic, looming on the horizon head coach Brian Kelly is keeping his mouth shut over the specific reasons for the two game suspensions of Cierre Wood and Justin Utupo from the team. Wood is his leading rusher.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday Kelly insisted suspensions had been his call alone and were uninfluenced by Notre Dame University’s Residence Life process.

He said “This is strictly an independent decision I made, relative to the decisions those young men made.

Kelly continued “I don't know that we worked on contingency plans.

"We went out every day, practiced. When I made my decision to suspend Cierre and Justin Utupo, that began to get more reps to other guys, because he wasn't going to be playing. There wasn't a long period of time we had a contingency plan, because I didn't know what I was going to do."

Kelly seems to peg Theo Riddick as the most capable of seamlessly replacing Wood's prediction.
"He's a guy that was bred for this position, if you call it a hybrid or whatever you want to call it.

"Running the ball is his first love, it's something he's accustomed to. He fits terrifically, right now."

The head coach added that transfer running back Amir Carlisle won't be available against Navy, but the coach is "optimistic" about Carlisle's progress back from a leg injury.

The Fighting Irish played on Tuesday afternoon and again at 6.15am on Wednesday. The players then went to class before leaving for Dublin on Wednesday night.

Their pep rally will take place on Friday night at the O2 Arena in Dublin before the game at 2pm (9am EST) on Saturday.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian KellyGoogle Images