Friday, September 18, 2009

Michigan LB Mouton Suspended for EMU Game

Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton

One of Michigan's leading tacklers on the football team, junior linebacker Jonas Mouton, has been suspended by Big Ten conference officials one game for delivering a bop uppercut punch to a Notre Dame offensive lineman Eric Olsen during the middle of the second quarter of last weeks 38-34 Michigan victory last weekend.

Rich Rodriguez did not acknowledge the punch even took place and therefore did not administer any corrective action. Looking at the game footage of the incidence, it's difficult to acknowledge the incident. This was a grave error in my view by Rodriguez and his staff. I can understand one coach missing it, but certainly not all of them.

Suffice it say that the Wolverines are about as thin at linebacker as a Japanese paper window screen. Replacements for Mouton for tomorrow's game against Eastern Michigan might include:

42 J.B. Fitzgerald, Sophomore (4 star)
52 Kevin Leach, Junior (Walk On)

4 Brandon Smith, Freshman (4 Star)

25 Kenny Demens, Sophomore (3 star)

It's also possible that some of the outside linebackers on the depth chart could move inside, such as:

58 Brandon Herron, Sophomore (4 star)
81 Steve Watson, Sophomore (4 star converted TE)

I don't think I'm overreacting here when I say that no one should be shocked if EMU's tailback Dwayne Priest has well over 100 yards rushing against Michigan's defense this coming Saturday. Michigan's inside linebacker performance hasn't exactly set the world on fire after two games. Mouton and Ezeh have both played just slightly better than last year. Unfortunately, that's not saying very much. If there's any silver lining in suspending a starter like Mouton, it comes against a non-conference opponent that Michigan should rather easily defeat. There's also the possibility that Michigan might actually uncover someone else in the depth chart that can do a capable job as a replacement.

As unfortunate as Mouton's recorded behavior is, the timing could have been a lot worse for the Wolverines. Player suspensions like this one applied against EMU or a Delaware State games is far less serious for Michigan than applied against Big Ten opponents.

Back to the footage itself, as an experienced, junior football player, I do wish Jonas Mouton would have demonstrated better leadership and control here. And Rodriguez better judgement.

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