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Kelly makes the call

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly made it clear Tuesday that the two-game suspensions running back Cierre Wood and defensive end Justin Utupo received were his call.

"This is strictly an independent decision I made, relative to the decisions those young men made," Kelly said during his news conference when asked whether the punishment was in conjunction with the university's Residence Life process.

"They violated the rules that our players know, rules they know every single day about being in this program."

Kelly wouldn't go into the specifics about when he learned about the players' violations, and he added that when he suspends players he hopes it will have a positive long-term effect.

"What's most important is anytime I suspend somebody from the football team it's perceived as discipline, and I understand that. These are educational opportunities for me," Kelly said.

"So when I suspend somebody I look at it as how are we going to get this young man to live up to the standards that I have for our program, and in this instance relative to his suspension, we want it to be educational. And we want them to come back better citizens and better young men."

Notre Dame will turn to Theo Riddick, George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel at running back for its season opener against Navy on Saturday in Dublin, Ireland.

McDaniel had been working out with the cornerbacks as well, but Kelly said the sophomore will only play offense for the foreseeable future.

Notre Dame will not have running back Amir Carlisle, a transfer from USC, available Saturday. Kelly said the sophomore, who is recovering from a broken ankle, is close to being able to play but will not be ready for the opener.

Kelly said the team had not been working on a contingency plan throughout fall camp for if Wood, who has yet to be made available to the media since camp opened at the start of the month, was suspended.

"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," Kelly said. "There wasn't a long period of time we had a contingency plan, because I didn't know what I was going to do."

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