Rich Rodriguez talks about Boubacar Cissoko's dismissal
Rich Rodriguez had a simple message for his players Tuesday after dismissing Boubacar Cissoko from the team: “It’s a privilege, not a right" to play football at Michigan.
"On and off the field there’s certain rules they have to follow and players understand that,” Rodriguez said. “It’s never pleasant to have to do this, but as I told the team, all I do is enforce the decisions that they make. And as a coach, that’s our responsibility.”
Cissoko, a sophomore cornerback, was kicked off the team after violating unspecified team rules for the second time this year.
He served a two-game suspension earlier this month, returned in limited action last week against Penn State, and had a track record of being tardy for practice and meetings.
Cissoko also had two run-ins with the law since arriving on campus last fall. Last year, in the early-morning hours after Michigan’s 35-21 loss to Michigan State, he was cited for an alcohol violation. When he failed to pay a $250 fine, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
In June, Cissoko was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a traffic incident in Detroit. He was punished internally by coaches, and the charge was dismissed Wednesday.
“I think there’s a lot of times young men make mistakes, particularly early in their career, and you hope that they learn from them and you discipline them when they do that,” Rodriguez said. “Depending on how serious it is, you make a decision as a coach or as a program how far you go with your discipline.”
“You try to help them in the future if they learn their lesson and do the right things, and that would be the case in this. If he gets right academically, does what he’s supposed to do, hopefully he can continue his career elsewhere.”
Troy Woolfolk will make his fourth straight start at right cornerback this week against Illinois, Rodriguez said, and Michigan (5-3, 1-3) has no plans to take the redshirt of prized freshman J.T. Turner.
Sophomore J.T. Floyd, true freshman Teric Jones, a former high school teammate of Cissoko’s at Detroit Cass Tech, and converted receiver James Rogers are the top backups.
Depth at cornerback “was an area of concern coming into the season, and it remains so,” Rodriguez said. “We can address it in recruiting, which we will of course. And we will address it with the players that we have right now, which we’re trying to do.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.