Wood leaves lasting impression at pro day

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame pro day offered us one last chance to catch up with Cierre Wood, one of the more interesting guys to play for the Irish these past few years.

Wood saw his workload diminish significantly in 2012, going from 16.69 carries per game in 2011 to 10.36 this past fall, a drop due in large part to the fact that he was suspended for the season's first two games following an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Wood, the father of an 18-month-old daughter, passed up a potential fifth and final season at Notre Dame to enter the NFL draft, his degree already in hand. He is projected to go anywhere from the middle of the table to the end, and us media members will miss him for his colorful quotes as much as next season's backfield will miss him for his 6.5 yards per rush this past season.

There are good quotes, there are bad quotes and then there is Wood.

Nothing he says is ever remotely offensive; it is just often a hilarious tangent of thoughts.

Take this from Tuesday, when I asked Wood if he missed school yet: "Am I missing school? I'm missing school a lot. There's no place I'd rather be than school. Who wouldn't want to be here in South Bend, Indiana? Negative degrees, snow everywhere, see all kinds of reindeer, stuff like that. It's cool. Just staying outside, playing with the snow angels, it's tight. I miss it a lot, more than anything in the world."

The Oxnard, Calif., native was then asked if he missed the warm weather: "Nah. Who needs warm weather? It's a lot of sun, a lot of girls in bathing suits. Who cares? Who needs that? I see a lot of people in Eskimo suits here. That's just fine. That's fine for me."

Lucky him -- he's sticking around the area in the month leading up to the draft.

"I'm going to stick around, try to shovel my stairs for once," he said. "I've never done it. I see it all the time. I just want to get out there and see what that's like, live this Midwest life for a couple of weeks and see what it's like really. Everybody's always talking about the Midwest, 'The cold is good, the cold is this.' I'm going to see what it's like. So I'm out here a couple weeks, stick around, show my face, see what happens."

It wasn't all weather talk for the running back Tuesday. He said he wanted to improve his 40-yard dash time and his numbers in the bench press.

He finished with a 4.52 in the 40, second only to receiver Robby Toma's 4.50. And he put up 18 reps on the bench press.

And, of course, he had a funny response when asked about that.

"At the combine, I don't think that's 225 [pounds], I think that's like 245," he said of the bench press. "I kid you not. After 10 I was like, 'Yes, keep going C.' But after the combine I hit 10 and my arms were about to fall off. So either they did something to the weights or we just got the best weights here, because I was flying through them here.

"But in all reality, it basically came from a lot of hard work. After the combine, I went back, started hitting it even more harder, because I wanted to come back for my pro day and make a splash, and that's exactly what I did today."