The Nihon University American football player who laid out an opposing quarterback with a shocking off-ball cheap shot said his coach instructed him to make the play, an official source said Wednesday.

The news came to light after a May 6 game against Kwansei Gakuin in which the Nihon University defender was ejected for roughing the passer from behind long after he had released the ball. According to the source, the Nihon University head coach, Masato Uchida, reportedly told his defense to foul opponents.

(Masato Uchida)

"I was told by the head coach, 'If you're going to commit a foul, make sure you do in the game,'" the player said, according to the source.

According to Nihon University's communications department, Uchida denied having made the comment when questioned as part of an internal investigation, saying, "I didn't tell players to commit fouls."

[Photo coutesy of Kwansei Gakuin University]

However, the source said Uchida recently criticized the team's mental toughness and implied he would reward rough play with playing time.

The Kwansei quarterback who was injured on the play sustained ligament damage in his spine but no nerve damage. The Kanto Collegiate Football Association on Monday canceled three preseason games scheduled for Sunday and June 9 to 10 by Nihon University.

Related story

American football: Cheap shot in college game stirs national controversy