spoiler alert: i linked this
I already welcome the onslaught of "you're an apologist", "stop defending him", "you're an idiot", etc. But after reading the comments here, including a number of scalding-hot takes, I wanted to put forth my only (tempered) counter-point to the Morris-Hoke situation.
First off, Shane Morris shouldn't have been out there for the play that led to this whole situation. Morris was barely putting pressure on his ankle and was clearly in pain; given the score and the situation he should have been pulled a series before, given a pat on the back and some ice on his leg, and parked on the sideline. He wasn't effective and getting further destroyed by Gophers wasn't going to be a useful learning experience for the young signal-caller. That decision is on Hoke, and he should be rightfully vilified.
After that hit, and this is absolutely my take and in no way based on scientific or inside information, it looked like Morris was limping around on his bad leg and that he was clearly feeling pain from the hit, if not concussed. Personally I never considered a concussion until the announcers started in on it, and even then I guess I was so accustomed to Gardner getting up from those types of hits for years that I thought they were overreacting. In my estimation, Morris struggling to keep his feet was not because he was "out" on them but because he couldn't put much weight on his leg and feeling the effects of that shot he just took.
But it didn't matter what I knew; what mattered was what the coach staff on that sideline thought was Morris's condition and his abilities to continue playing, and that's something we'll never know. I hated Hoke saying that Morris could have subbed himself out if he was injured because (a) players are taught from an early age to never give up, always give their best and not let the team down, and it is on the coaches to protect players from themselves in these circumstances, and (b) it betrays the fact that Hoke probably couldn't/didn't see Morris clearly from the far sideline and had no idea his overall physical shape. That's a failure of communication by someone on the staff, and that is unacceptable.
(Lost in this is the fact that the refs failed to handle the clear targetting with something more severe than a roughing-the-passer call. I'm not saying it would have changed the events that transpired afterwards, but who knows.)
But I do believe that Hoke didn't know what was going on, and to be honest I'm not sure how many coaches would in the same circumstance. As a fanbase the sentiment is that Hoke should have been protective of Morris and pulled him because of the ferocity of the hit, but watch a weekly highlight film and you'll see that type of hit (though probably not to the illegal degree displayed here) quite a few times, more often than not with the player getting up and playing the next down. Hell, Gardner has been getting up for 2 years now from horrendous hits; it's not right or fair to expect all players to withstand that punishment, but I think most fans subconsciously expectthat these athletes' bodies to handle more than they probably can in actuality.
Putting Morris in for that hand-off was inexplicable, due in large part to nobody telling Bellomy to locate his f'ing helmet because he was the backup QB now and compounded by Hoke not just calling a TO. I'll admit that in the couple of seconds he had to make this decision, it's hard to know the calculus going on in his head. On one hand a TO in this game might be valuable; Hoke clearly wasn't going to concede defeat, and a wasted down running the ball was preferrable to not being able to stop the clock. On the other hand, Morris should have been stapled to that seat and if it meant taking a delay of game or having Norfleet line up under center and giving Brian a tiny orgasm, so be it. Obviously Hoke allowed the worst to happen, not so much in terms of objective damage (it was a handoff and Morris wasn't touched) but from the perspective of those watching the game and the overall narrative for the game.
Taken in totality, Hoke's handling of this situation is terrible; it's comically awful in the way that each mistake just compounded itself because Hoke made the next-worst decision each time. But I will argue to the end of the day that the information available to Hoke is different than that version held by virtually everyone else watching on TV, which was based on implications and limited observations. It could very well be true tht Morris had a concussion, but nobody in that booth knew that with any certainty, and taken in real-time it did seem that everyone was processing the situation as best they could. The fans booed, but it seemed to be more in response to the replay of the hit than the idea Morris was injured, though obviously I wasn't there so I don't know. I'd like to know from people in the crowd what the tone was.
Further exasperating the situation is how Hoke handled the PR elements in his conference afterwards. His words sounded like a guy who didn't know what was going on, a damning endictment for a football coach going on his 4th year at the program. I do know that medical determinations of players is left out of the coach's hands in many instances; the medical staff is on that sideline specifically to act as an indepedent overseer of the players' health. Sure they can't call Morris over, but once he was on the sideline he should have been looked at (and I presume he was). But regardless, Hoke failed to take the public blame you are frankly paid to take as the head coach in those instances, even if you believe that you did the right thing and, objectively, you might not be as blameworthy as others are thinking.
So I get the anger to an extent, and at best Hoke's handling of Morris was ham-fisted and further defined his a buffoon; at worst he risked a kid's health by being extremely negligent.
But what has bothered me so much about the outrage after this game is that people are trying to drum up some morally-superior reason for wanting Hoke gone instead of just focusing on the wins and losses, the regression shown by his teams, the poor offensive and defensive performances in big games, the dinosaur punting, and everything else that objectively should be used be determining whether or not he should remain the head coach at Michigan. But it feels like there is a mob here wanting to burn Hoke as a witch on his way out, to make him a villain instead of just a bad hire and a mediocre coach. For whatever reason, there is a part of this fanbase that holds on desperately to a sense of superior character, to the "Michigan Man" that makes them better and more pious than other fans, teams, coaches, and administrators.
Dave Brandon can't be fired because he kinda sucks at running the athletic department; we need to find he is also running some cabal of international money launderers or is a brainwashed minion of Big Noodle. Rich Rodriguez couldn't just be fired because his defenses were terrible; he had to the hick who dragged UM's "good name" through the mud because a couple of hack writers went after his youngest players and fabircated a controversy. Hell, Lloyd Carr couldn't be fired because he was older and clearly had taken a step back as a coach as the game passed him by; we had to portray him as a senile old fart who forever tarnished UM's legacy by losing to App St.
And now Brady Hoke, a guy who has gone 28-16 in 4 years at UM (17-14 the last 3) can't just be fired for being a bad coach, but some people need to make him out to be a guy willing to risk the health of his players to "save his job". Hoke should be fired because he seems overwhelmed by the position and his teams aren't performing well enough, and count me in that mob. But he's not a monster, he's not a cold, heartless guy who didn't give a shit about Morris's health. He's a guy who has made a bunch of bad decisions at UM and had a bunch of bad luck in recent years. This feels like a combination of those, and trying to divine more than that from this situation is grasping at straws.
I want Hoke and Brandon gone because they aren't good enough at the jobs based on results on the field. But I don't think we need to tar and feather them on the way out just to make it feel more than that.
While I continue to believe that we have some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in college football, I am a little confused at the amount of outrage (multiple threads calling for Hoke’s head) over the way he handled Morris today and the utter lack of outrage we have collectively shown when Devin has taken big shots, been gimpy and PLAYED AN ENTIRE QUARTER WITH A BROKEN FOOT – without being taken out (http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/various-sources-twitter-gardner-played-fourth-quarter-against-osu-broken-foot)
Let me be clear with what I’m saying here – in no way, do I condone the way Hoke and staff handled Morris today – and I think every Michigan fan (including myself) is or should be appalled with the way the situation was handled this afternoon. My question is whether we as a fan base, have shown a double-standard when it comes to big hits / injuries suffered by Gardner vs. Morris? And if so, are there any legit reasons for this? (i.e. we are fed up with Hoke, and using this as a trigger for our anger)
I know I will probably get neg-bombed to Boliva for this, but I also now I’m not the only one who feels this way as evidenced by other comments, and think it’s a discussion worth having
Best possible scenario: Morris starts and performs well. He gets better each game and UM wins 6-7 BIG games. The record is OK, but the team shows hope for next year.
Worst possible scenario: Morris performs poorly. He is replaced with Gardner after a game or two and UM wins 3-4 BIG games. The record is terrible and there is no hope for next year.
Let's hope for the best.
Ok - I've watched videos on Mgoblue, searched and googled. Does anybody have any info, rumor or fact, that I haven't heard about Devin? I am not dreading watching Shane play, and I still think we can win this game with him under center. I do think this team is much better with him playing, and it looks to me like he's not even practicing in pads this week. I did hear Hoke say earlier this week that if Devin didn't practice by Wednesday that he wouldn't get any PT in the bowl game. Did he practice yesterday? The only pics I saw of him yesterday were of him without pads, so I have no idea. This mgocommunity is really good at ferreting out info from under the shroud of Fort Hoke, so I was hoping for some new info. Happy Holidays to everyone, and I hope you all had good times with family. Go Blue, and beat Kansas State!!!
watched the stream versus Towson
Burke is VERY good. Looks to be a true point guard who can also drive or knock down the 3.
He may not be Morris, posting up smaller guards, but he should make the offensive flow much more consistent.......and that could be better than the way Morris ran the offense.
Horford at 250 is a different player, and Smotrycz is carrying his new bulk well, too. And Hardaway is pretty clearly an NBA player to be.
This year's hoops should be serious, and with the crop coming in next year......
Remember when Beilein got here and said he wasnt even used to recruting top 150 guys?