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Focused on big game, Cierre Wood coy about his NFL plans

Updated: February 7, 2013 6:49AM

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Cierre Wood might or might not have made up his mind about returning to Notre Dame or leaving for the NFL. But either way, he’s not telling.

Wood waffled Saturday between saying he had his decision made — he joked with reporters that he already had told his 1-year-old daughter of his intentions — and saying he was weighing his options. Regardless, he won’t make any sort of announcement until after the BCS championship game Monday.

“I’m not thinking about it,” he said. “I’m just thinking about the game. That’s what’s important.”

Wood was coming off a 1,102-yard junior season in which he was suspended for the first two games of 2012 for an unspecified rules violation. In his absence, Theo Riddick seized the starting role, and Wood averaged just 11 carries per game.

Showing off the explosive ability that makes him an attractive NFL prospect, he still managed to run for 740 yards, including touchdown runs of 62 yards at Oklahoma and 68 yards against Wake Forest. His 6.7-yard average is 14th-best in the nation.

“It’s been difficult, but what I try to do is make plays sooner and faster,” Wood said of his reduced role.

“Midway through the season, that’s what I started doing. I’d only have six or seven carries but 100-something yards. I just try to make big runs as soon as I can.”

Riddick graduates this year, leaving Wood to compete with George Atkinson III, USC transfer Amir Carlisle and incoming five-star recruit Greg Bryant for carries, should he choose to come back.

“There are a lot of things I’m looking at,” Wood said. “I’ll go over that with my family. And when I feel the time is right, or if I feel that’s what I want to do, then the decision will be made.”

’Dog conundrum

A common question posed to Notre Dame players throughout the week is whether they’re insulted by being a 10-point underdog despite being the undefeated
No. 1 team. Brian Kelly answered the question the same way most of his players did — with a shrug.

“Somebody has got to be an underdog,” he said. “I would say Alabama has got the belt, and they deserve the belt. We’ve got to take it from them.”

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