Wood Talks Official

If Notre Dame wins the coin toss to open the 2009 season, Cierre Wood is hoping that Charlie Weis chooses to receive.

Cierre Wood feels he has a great chance of being the Irish player returning that kick.

"I'm excited," Wood stated. In his game on Friday, the Santa Clara High standout ran back the opening kickoff 94 yards for a score.

Special teams might be the first place the Oxnard, Calif., product could make an impact for the Notre Dame football team, but the way he's running the ball in his final prep season, it will also be hard to keep the five-star Wood out of a an already deep Irish backfield.

For the season, Wood has 62 carries for 969 yards and 18 touchdowns. Most of those touchdowns are of the long highlight variety, that could fill up a couple seasons of good tape for most other backs.

And Wood's doing it against tougher competition. Santa Clara is off to a 5-0 start after moving up a division following a league championship last fall.

"Everyone is bigger and faster, but I've been able to adapt and we're doing pretty good so far," Wood said. Santa Clara has now won 15 straight games. "We expected to do well."

Wood, who will cap his prep football career at the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio in early January, can't wait to suit up for the Irish.

Heck, it was hard to keep Wood out of the Notre Dame backfield while he was watching them play Stanford on his official visit the weekend of Oct. 4th.

"When I was watching it, I actually wanted to get on the field but I realized I couldn't," Wood laughed. "It's something I want to be a part of and I'm excited to be there."

Wood had a bye week on his football schedule for his official, and was able to arrive in South Bend on Friday afternoon and soak up the whole weekend of festivities.

"It was a good time," Wood said. "Basically went out there and had fun and I learned some things. It was a good experience and something that I wanted to experience."

The most beneficial part for Wood was attending the running backs meeting on Friday, the day before the Stanford game.

"I was trying to pickup some of their play calling," Wood explained. "It's really complicated. I was trying my best to understand it."

Wood was hosted by freshman defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore on Friday night. On Saturday, Wood woke up to take in his first Notre Dame game experience. He attended the spring game back in April, where he verbally committed to Charlie Weis. That was Wood's first time on Notre Dame's campus.

"The coolest part would have to be walking from the church to the stadium," Wood said. "Just how everybody lines up to greet the players and wish them good luck before the game."

Wood certainly enjoyed the game. He did pushups in the student section following the Irish's third touchdown.

"They really got pumped up," Wood said of the Notre Dame fans.

Wood was hosted by freshman receiver Michael Floyd on Saturday night. He also spent a lot of time with fellow Irish commit Marlon Pollard, another California kid Wood knows from a couple combines.

Before leaving, Wood got some one-on-one time with Weis and offensive coordinator Michael Haywood.

"Just talked about different things," Wood said of his conversation with Weis. "How I'm doing. How his family is doing. Personal stuff.

"We were basically talking about the same stuff," Wood said of his chat with Haywood. "Personal stuff. School, coming there, and going to college, the plays."

Besides getting a chance to return punts and kicks, Wood and Haywood also talked about how he fits into the Irish offense.

"They really don't know, but it seems like I'm going to come into training camp, and at training camp, they'll basically see what I can do.

"Time will tell."

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