Emphasis on north-south running helps Irish RB Wood

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Emphasis on north-south running helps Irish RB Wood

LOS ANGELES -- Cierre Wood's 2012 stats aren't eye-popping -- 720 yards, four touchdowns -- but make no mistake, he's the most explosive weapon Notre Dame's offense has.

"He is locked in," coach Brian Kelly said. "He's getting more north and south in his running. The insideoutside zone scheme is set to run north and south. We don't want a lot of cutting."

Wood's propensity to cut and move to his left and right has cost him on some occasions, as did a two-game suspension to begin the season. But in Wood's nine games in 2012, he hasn't averaged fewer than five yards per carry, and has broke off touchdown runs of 62 and 68 yards.

On both those long runs, Wood powered through a hole and took off -- he wasn't trying to juke anyone. That's been a coaching point for Kelly, especially as it relates to Wood in Notre Dame's blocking setup.

"It is much more difficult to make a headon tackle," Kelly explained. "It's easier to run with speed and make an angle tackle. When you're running north and south, we have run through so many tackles this year when we get north and south, and so that's been a point of emphasis going into the fall."

Wood has made it no secret he wants more carries, but knows Notre Dame's crowded backfield -- which includes his roommate, Theo Riddick, and sophomore George Atkinson III -- means he'll rarely get more than 20 carries in a game. He admitted earlier in the year that his decreased carries have led him to try to break big plays every time he touches the ball.

"I see a hole, Im trying to get through as fast as possible and get tot he next level because I know there isnt any secondary out there that can handle me, let alone the rest of the RBs and stuff," Wood said in October. "Once I get to that level its all about just making the next man miss and taking it to the crib."

What Kelly and his coaching staff have tried to drive into Wood's mentality, though, is that the best way to be that big-play guy is to run downhill. He did that against Wake Forest, taking an option pitch from Everett Golson and running through the Deacons' defense for a touchdown.

"He was looking to cut off of somebody, you know, he was resisting the temptation," Kelly said of the option play. "When he runs north and south, we all know what he's capable of."

Preview: Cubs continue series with Nationals tonight on CSN

Preview: Cubs continue series with Nationals tonight on CSN

The Cubs continue their series with the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night in the nation's capital, and you can catch all the action on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app.

Coverage from the District of Columbia with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies begins at 6 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the game for reaction and analysis on Cubs Postgame Live.

Tonight's starting pitching matchup: John Lackey (5-8, 4.74 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (8-2, 3.57 ERA)

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Preview: Carlos Rodon makes season debut as White Sox face Yankees on CSN

Preview: Carlos Rodon makes season debut as White Sox face Yankees on CSN

Carlos Rodon makes his season debut as the White Sox take on the New York Yankees tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN Plus and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tonight’s starting pitching matchup: Carlos Rodon (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (5-7, 5.74 ERA)

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.