Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh Still Offended, Looking For Clarity

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh remains offended by intent to deceive call in Saturday's win, also taking the time to point out his issue with the targeting rule.

It might be a full 48 hours removed from Michigan's 49-16 dismantling of Rutgers Saturday, but Jim Harbaugh is still offended.

Flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second half against the Scarlet Knights, after Jake Rudock hit a wide open and uncovered Jake Butt for a big gain down the Wolverines' sideline, the explanation for the penalty was puzzling to Harbaugh.

Harbaugh was told Michigan had "intent to deceive" as Butt jogged toward the sideline before stopping just before going off the field to line up as a wide receiver, far enough away from the huddle that none of the Rutgers defenders noticed No. 88.

"They said it wasn't intent to deceive, it was attempt to confuse, that was the language the official used," Harbaugh said. "I take the rules very seriously and understanding the rules, understanding the consistency, the clarity of rules and not just the rules but the spirit of the rules and doing everything that we can to follow the rules.

"I said I was offended after the game to have an unsportsmanlike conduct called on us, and the language that they used. I find it offensive cause we take it very seriously, we know what to teach our players and tell our team."

Harbaugh's biggest beef with the penalty, outside of the actually language, is the fact that the NCAA rules are vague in these instances.

Clearly looking to utilize this play at some point this season, Harbaugh asked for clarification of the rule recently and believes Michigan abided by those guidelines..

"There's no rule in the rule book that you can go back to and say that we broke," he said. "In fact we followed, asked for interpretation weeks ago and followed it to the best of our ability. It needs specifics.

"What was it about it that made it an illegal play versus what would make it a legal play? Everything else in the rule book is specific but this one seems to fall into a category that is up for judgement."

The flag left Harbaugh wondering, during a near three minute rant, what else could be intent to confuse a defense, noting maybe a backwards pass skipping off the ground could cause defenders to stop playing thinking there was an incompletion.

At the end of the day, Harbaugh is looking for specifics, he said.

Unprompted, Harbaugh also decided to point out his frustration with the targeting rule, something that snake bit the Wolverines in October's loss to Michigan State and once again went against Michigan Saturday against Rutgers.

"I need some clarity and consistency on another thing I'm offended by," Harbaugh said. "We've got a defenseless player covering a punt and he gets hit in the back of the head, which, gets called a targeting foul that goes up to the booth and it's not targeting but no foul is incurred.

"It's a player that lines up a player, looks like he made a decision to hit him, hit him high, it should at least be a block in the back."

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