ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Monday that while Taylor Lewan's between-the-whistle activities against Michigan State were unacceptable, he doesn't believe the left tackle deserves a suspension.
The Big Ten is looking into a second-quarter play in Saturday's Michigan-Michigan State game in which Lewan twisted the helmet of senior safety Isaiah Lewis after the Spartans sacked quarterback Devin Gardner. Lewan received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play.
A conference sanction could follow, but Hoke said that if he believed Lewan needed a suspension, he already would have imposed one.
"He was trying, in some ways, to get our quarterback out of harm's way in a pile," Hoke said. "Some of it was he got overtaken with his emotion. And, you know, he's kind of one of those guys, as you all well know, who's a very good teammate."
But there were other examples of questionable behavior on the part of Lewan, and Hoke said that was "unacceptable."
"It's not what we want to portray or be," Hoke said. "It's not who we are."
Lewan has always been an emotional player for Michigan, and he's outspoken. In his early years with the Wolverines, he was penalized for what he referred to as "extracurricular activities" during plays. Since then, he seemed to have learned to control his emotions.
Until Saturday, at least.
"At the time I was trying to protect my teammates, trying to protect Devin," Lewan said. "Obviously I could've gone about it way different. And if I could go back and do it different, absolutely I would."
Two years ago, Michigan State defensive end William Gholston received a one-game suspension for a punch he threw at Lewan's neck during the Michigan-Michigan State game.
However, both Hoke and Lewan said that they couldn't compare the incidents.
"I'm not going to judge that," Hoke said. "That's for somebody else to judge."
Added Lewan: "I don't know how similar or how different they really are."
Any kind of suspension for Lewan could be huge for the Wolverines (6-2, 2-2 Big Ten). Michigan's young offensive line is struggling, and taking out the most veteran player, even for a bit, would be troublesome.
Until the conference returns a decision, Lewan is left to deal with having allowed his emotions get the better of him when his team was in a tough spot in a rivalry game, which Michigan State won 29-6.
"A couple of those facemask deals were on accident," Lewis said. " ... A couple of those were very blatant and I apologize for that.
"There are different ways to go about it, but I lost my composure for a second. That's not OK to do. That's not representing the University of Michigan the way it should be. That's not taking pride in the rivalry that we have with Michigan State."