Minnesota coach Tracy Claeys wouldn’t say what the punishment will be for redshirt freshman linebacker Jaylen Waters, but based on his reaction in the postgame press conference, it’s likely to be severe.
Waters was ejected after he blasted Penn State kicker Joey Julius during the third quarter of the Golden Gophers’ loss to the Nittany Lions on Saturday.
“No comment there, I’ll take care of that,” Claeys said when asked about the play after the game.
Watch video of the hit below:
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 2, 2016
Claeys went further after his initial response, making it clear that he and his coaching staff did not condone Waters’ actions.
“I’m going to tell you this: Nobody has more pride and care about the game of football then me,” Claeys said. “… I care about protecting the game and I don’t believe in that crap. Anybody who thinks that we coached that does not know us.
“This is a great game. It has helped a hell of a lot of people and you’re also dealing with kids who are doing things. There are consequences for those decisions.”
Waters and Julius were involved in an altercation in the second quarter, when Waters threw the 258-pound Julius to the ground following a kickoff.
Julius has become somewhat of a folk hero for Penn State after his jarring hits on Kent State’s Kavious Price and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis went viral. Nittany Lions defensive defensive end Shareef Miller called Julius “the hardest hitter on the team.”
This isn’t the first time the kicker has been targeted, either. A Pittsburgh special teams player took an unwarranted shot on Julius during Penn State’s game against the Panthers earlier this season.
Penn State coach James Franklin said this when he was asked about the Waters hit after the game Saturday:
“I think because Joey has been such a factor in getting down and making tackles that people are treating him differently. I think that’s a credit to Joey and his toughness. I do think that play fired everybody up.
“(Claeys) said something to me about that after the game that he is going to take care of that. I appreciate him saying that. It was an emotional game played by passionate and emotional people.
“I’m glad Joey’s okay and I’m also impressed that he’s built a reputation that you better deal with our kicker or he’ll get down there and make tackles.”
Julius got the last laugh, as Penn State beat Minnesota 29-26 in overtime.