Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez addresses the Jonas Mouton suspension, says he'll be watching
Rich Rodriguez might be joining the video patrol.
Part of the Michigan football coach’s week leading up to Saturday’s game against Eastern Michigan had to do with slow-motion videos, the description of a punch and both his personal and his school’s reaction to it.
Rodriguez said he was told Thursday the Big Ten would suspend junior linebacker Jonas Mouton, who struck Notre Dame center Eric Olsen a week ago following a play. On Friday, the Big Ten announced the one-game suspension.
On Saturday, after No. 25 Michigan handled Eastern Michigan, 45-17, he addressed it and said he’d be watching. That was already a message he gave to Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who levied the suspension against Mouton.
“I will tell you my conversation with the commissioner, we will watch every Big Ten game very closely and every non-football act, a six-inch jab or anything that is not called for in the game of football, we’re going to ask that that person gets the same type of punishment that Jonas Mouton got,” Rodriguez said. “I’m sure the league would do that.”
Mouton sat Saturday. He was replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore linebacker Kevin Leach, who recorded a game-high 10 tackles.
Rodriguez said he spoke with his team and said what Mouton did should have been called a personal foul.
He also made clear, though, that he did not believe Mouton’s strike on Olsen was intentional or malicious, saying it couldn’t be compared to LeGarrette Blount’s punch of a Boise State player following the Broncos’ season-opening win over the Ducks that cost Blount his senior season.
“It’s not a football act,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not what we’re about. And it hurts the team when you do that, and Jonas understood that. He understood it hurt the team and that you could be penalized.”
But Rodriguez, since he feels precedent has now been set by the Big Ten, seems to be going on the offensive. From the way he spoke in his post-game press conference, it sounds like he’s going to be looking out for things like punches and armbars and extracurricular elbows.
“It’s funny you say that because I saw a Big Ten game in the locker room,” Rodriguez said. “In some highlights, and it was the end of the game, and a guy jumped on someone at the last play of the game and did a little of this right here (making a motion with his elbow and forearm).
“Is that a non-football act? It probably is. So that may be turned in. We’ll see what happens.”