Division of Labor

Senior Cierre Wood has a problem with his friend and fellow running back Theo Riddick. The former decided recently it was time to clean house as a result.

As of Wednesday afternoon, prior to the team's mid-week practice in preparation for Brigham Young, Cierre Wood remains miffed at Theo Riddick.

Wood is fine with the pair's dual-efforts on the gridiron. He'd prefer a lead role -- as would Riddick -- but at 6-0, the proof of head coach Brian Kelly's plan and the good of the program outweighs any personal goals for both.

But Wood isn't entirely happy, largely because Riddick apparently doesn't pull his share -- off the field, that is, in their shared off-campus apartment.

"They live in 'the Cave.' That's the bottom part," said Wood of the three-story townhouse he shares with Riddick, classmate Tyler Stockton, and Wood's long-time friend, Kevin Saunders (a Notre Dame student). "Their floor (Riddick and Stockton) is so dirty I can't even see carpet on it anymore. Hopefully they'll (start to) clean it up. We had to get the house cleaned yesterday."

As for Wood's top floor he shares with Kevin?

"That's our spot; that's the whole reason I decided to live with Kevin: he's clean, I'm a neat freak. Sometimes if there's a couple things on the ground I'll get pissed off and clean up the whole house. Kevin and I stay clean, our room is always clean. Theirs is like a dungeon."

Riddick has emerged from his basement quarters enough to lead the Irish offense in rushes (80), rushing yards (318), pass receptions (20) and pass targets (32). He's tied with fellow running back George Atkinson for total touchdowns scored (3) and with Wood in his commitment to the backfield's three-man job share.

"The major thing is we're not selfish. Whoever has his number called, we're all in it together," said Riddick. "To see someone else succeed is a great thing. You can see we're not bruised up, banged up by any means. That helps now and it'll help later down the road."

Riddick re-joined the Irish backfield late last season, the result of a dearth of available veteran bodies at the position following an injury to Jonas Gray.

He was thereafter a late addition to Wood's senior season housing plan.

"I was going to live with my friend (nose guard) Tyler Stockton. We needed other roommates and I've known Kevin since my freshman year. He and I became cool and became roommates, then Theo just jumped in the mix. That's how it happened. And it became the best roommate corps ever. 'pound-sign' (#) 628. That is our unit number.

"It came together, and its the best thing since sliced bread."

Riddick, Wood, and Atkinson have combined to be the best thing to share the Irish backfield since the millennium when the 2000 Irish offense led by Julius Jones (688 yards, 7 TD), Tony Fisher (636 yards, 9 total TD), and Terrance Howard (424 yards, 4 TD) combined to lead Notre Dame to the program's first BCS berth.

Wood (279 yards, 68.9 per game over 4 contests), Riddick (308 rushing, 170 receiving) and the lesser-used Atkinson (32 carries, 290 yards) play in a more balanced run-pass attack. The trio is on pace to carry the ball a combined 50 fewer times than their aforementioned predecessors. But according to Wood, Irish fans don't have to worry about any off-field tiffs over tidiness carrying over to the football field.

"We argue (at home) but we're so close as friends, that will never be the problem," he said specifically of sharing the football. "When we're on the field, we know what we need to get done. That's never been a problem and it never will be a problem."

Friends since their freshmen seasons of 2009, Wood and Riddick apparently share more than the football.

"Everybody wears everyone's stuff," said Wood, who offered he was wearing Riddick's sweat pants in the interview while Riddick had donned a pair of #92 sweats (Stockton's jersey number). "We (he and Riddick) wear the same size in everything. But we all just wear each other's stuff. I'll have a big #92 jacket on to watch TV."

Stockton is in the 6'0" 285-pound range. Wood is closer to 215. Riddick near 205. How, exactly, do they share clothing?

"Its like wearing a sheet, actually," said Wood of Stockton's articles. "But everybody wears every bodies stuff."

(Wood added that Saunders also borrows his more athletic roommate's attire: "He fits my stuff. He's chubby I would say. I don't want to say 'fat' because he doesn't like the word 'fat' so I'll say 'chubby.'")

Not only does the competitive pair of senior 'backs battle together between the lines, but also during their down time vs. a rival quartet one wall away.

"Right next door is Robby (Toma), Carlo (Calabrese), Zeke (Motta) and Manti (Te'o). We always have house vs house," Wood offered. "Spades: house vs. house; Madden: house vs. house.

"#628 always prevails."

On the field in 2012, they have as well.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories