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Lake appeared to thrust his right arm toward redshirt freshman linebacker Ruperake Fuavai during a brief encounter on the Washington sideline. Fuavai appeared to be exchanging words with Oregon senior wide receiver Jaylon Redd.
ESPN reports the incident took place shortly after the first-half kickoff, and Lake says his intention was to break it up, but by the time he reached Fuavai, his player had already backed away from Oregon’s player.
“I went in to separate them and push them back,” Lake said. “After that, we settled down a little bit. That was our deal all week long was, ‘We got to have poise.’ We knew this was going to be a very heated matchup and there was going to be a lot of trash talking. And when we stepped in there, we were glad that a penalty wasn’t thrown on our guys to put us back even further on that kickoff return.”
ESPN reports that when Lake was asked if he regretted striking Fuavai, he replied: “I separated them. I didn’t strike him. I separated them.”
Washington athletic director Jen Cohen said the program is aware of the interaction in a statement, per ESPN.
“We are aware of an interaction between head coach Jimmy Lake and a student-athlete during the first half of Saturday’s game,” Cohen said. “We have high expectations of the conduct of our coaches and we are working to gather more information on this matter.”
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