Endzone: The Minnesota Aftermath

Endzone: The Minnesota Aftermath

Submitted by Brian on August 21st, 2015 at 11:33 AM

81brQCbEIUL[1]Hello. This is an excerpt from "ENDZONE: The Rise, Fall, And Return of Michigan Football" that John Bacon allowed us to run if I would once more refer to the book by its actual name instead of "Brandon's Lasting Lessons." I have now discharged that obligation.

We pick up the story the day after the Minnesota game. Shane Morris has been hit on the head, Devin Gardner lost his helmet and Morris re-entered, and the world waits for an explanation of what's going on…

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At 11 a.m. Sunday, after every football game, the medical staff completes its routine postgame interactions with the coaching staff, including Brady Hoke, to apprise them of the status of all the players—something I’ve witnessed dozens of times. In addition, head trainer Paul Schmidt talked with Hoke once on Saturday, three times on Sunday, and once on Monday, giving him the complete information Dr. Kutcher and the staff had gathered on Shane Morris’s condition at each stage.

In short, there was no lack of communication between the medical staff and the coaching staff—nor within the medical staff itself, a group I’ve seen exhibit mutual respect, personally and professionally.

The Big Ten also called Michigan Sunday morning to let the coaching staff know the referee who had told Hoke, after Devin Gardner’s helmet had popped off, that calling a time-out would not allow him to put Gardner back on the field was, in fact, incorrect, and Hoke was right. It’s not that often the Big Ten office admits it was wrong, but they told the staff, not the media, so no one outside Schembechler Hall knew about it.

Finally sensing that a national story was rising around them, the department sent out a press release from Brady Hoke Sunday evening. It said, in part, “. . . Shane Morris was removed from yesterday’s game against Minnesota after further aggravating an injury to his leg that he sustained earlier in the contest . . . The University of Michigan has a distinguished group of Certified Athletic Trainers and team physicians who are responsible for determining whether or not a player is physically able to play. Our coaches have no influence or authority to make determinations if or when an injured player returns to competition . . .”

The release addressed some important points—that Morris had been pulled for his ankle, not the hit to his helmet, and that the coaches have no authority over the medical staff—but failed to answer the most pressing question: Did Morris have a concussion or not? If he did, why did he go back in the game?

Needless to say, instead of bringing closure to the story, this half-baked attempt would only raise more questions.

Marathon Monday

To withstand these slings and arrows, Brandon needed the Michigan family to band together like never before: the students, the alumni, the fans, faculty and lettermen, not to mention his own staff. But when he looked up, he found the family had already scattered. They had resigned, they’d been fired, they’d been angered, they’d been estranged. Some had simply become fed up with the whole thing, and walked away from something they thought they would love their whole lives.

Brandon would be on his own.

When the athletic director, his leadership team, his coaches, and the players woke up Monday morning, they found a pile of bad news on their doorstep. The football team was off to a disastrous 2–3 start. The department was still getting lambasted for the Cokes-for-tickets “retail activation,” and the stadium was showing large bands of empty seats—and that was all topped by the op-ed headline in the Michigan Daily: “Brady Hoke Must Be Fired.”

[After THE JUMP: nothing good happens in a 17 hour meeting]

This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

Submitted by Seth on November 12th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

A man in my position cannot afford to be made to look ridikuhlis.

Ace: Brian and I did a segment on this week's podcast in which we each listed our top five most ridiculous games of the Hoke era. Not only were our bottom three picks entirely different, but between Twitter and the comments at least a dozen games that didn't make the cut were suggested as meriting inclusion, and... it was really hard to argue with a lot of them.

So let's try this again. List and explain your top five, perhaps mention a few dishonorable mentions, and feel free to explain your methodology—I'm intentionally leaving "ridiculous" open to interpretation.

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BiSB: I just drew up a quick list of candidates. There are 16 games on that list. I HATE ALL THE THINGS.

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Ace: Now remember that the very first game Hoke coached featured two Brandon Herron touchdowns and was called due to a biblical storm before the third quarter ended...

Even the wins, man. Even the wins.

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[After the jump: we discuss 60% of the games under Hoke]

Unverified Voracity Catalogues Vitriol

Unverified Voracity Catalogues Vitriol

Submitted by Brian on October 2nd, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Kind of a big deal. As of 9 PM Wednesday, this was SI's college football front page:

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That is the lead story—a scathing roundtable from three of SI's main CFB writers—and six of the eleven top stories on the sidebar either about the Morris incident or tangential concerns (the OSU attendance thing).

Excerpts from that lead article:

STAPLES: Did Brandon throw Hoke under the bus, run him over, back up and run him over again? Or did he run him over three times? …

RICKMAN: Everyone in a position of power here is most concerned with protecting themselves, so they're passing blame around. "I didn't see it." "We didn't have enough evidence." Hoke's trying to keep his job. Brandon's trying to keep his job. At the crux of it, this is a person we're talking about. A kid who has his whole life ahead of him. And the best we can get out of an athletic department at one of the most prestigious football programs in the country is, "We should have done better." 

This is awful on all levels. …

SCHNELL: I’m not going to accuse a coach of knowingly putting a player in danger, but I will say this: People in charge do some desperate things when they think they’re close to losing their jobs. As for Brandon’s role, it’s his athletic department, and the buck stops with him. If he’s going to take responsibility, ultimately, then he needs to hold a press conference and allow questions, not email out a few paragraphs long after most people have gone to sleep. That’s a coward’s way out.

I was not kidding about "scathing."

Speaking of scathing. Stewart Mandel:

I was pretty surprised to wake up Monday morning and find that Brady Hoke hasn't been fired yet. The poor performances are bad enough, but the disregard (and flimsy excuses) for player safety should've been grounds for immediate dismissal. Is there any good reason for having him finish the season? The only thing I can think of is recruiting, but come on. Everyone in the nation knows he's gone after this year.

-- William Daniels, Mt. Morris, Michigan

Well then I can only imagine how surprised you were to wake up Tuesday morning and find out that Shane Morriswas diagnosed with a concussion on Sunday but no one thought to inform the head coach by the following day.

The Morris situation has provided a mind-numbing window into the level of dysfunction within the Michigan athletic department. Hoke’s days were already numbered due to the program’s on-field deterioration into a poster for offensive ineptitude. The only way Hoke’s team is going to a bowl game this year is if there aren’t enough eligible 6-6 teams. The Morris story only intensified the level of outrage surrounding Hoke.

Mandel goes on to say the stuff about 5-0 and we're defending the guy, and I mean… come on. If this happens to a successful coach it is a strike but not one that dooms a regime, and a sizeable majority of the anger in the Michigan fanbase right now is directed at the athletic director for the ham-handed mismanagement everyone is citing.

Additionally in scathing. They asked Don Canham's widow what she thought:

“I just think it’s gone way overboard with the crazy music and Beyonce and Eminem and that sort of thing,” Canham-Keeley said. “I guess he’s trying to cater to the students but it’s obviously not working. For me the pageantry of the football game is the band coming out on the field and the tradition of the drum major.”

“I’ve narrowed it down to fireworks, flyovers and empty seats,” she said.

“To me it’s become a circus, and that’s not what it should be. I’m born and raised in Ann Arbor. I grew up with Michigan football. That’s not—to me—Michigan football.”

She goes into the Beyonce/Eminem stuff and you're like "oh she's just old" and then she immediately cuts to how the students aren't buying it and you're like that's a fantastic point I forgot you were Don Friggin' Canham's wife.

Yet more in scathing. USA Today's Christine Brennan calls for firing everybody:

…at a Monday news conference, Hoke said Morris did not suffer a concussion. He also said that he and Brandon hadn't discussed it.

But, after midnight early Tuesday morning, Brandon released a statement in which he said that Morris had indeed suffered a "probable, mild concussion," whatever that is.

Brandon also said that he had met with "those who were directly involved" since Sunday, which clearly would include Hoke, who of course said he hadn't talked to Brandon about it.

So the two are either not telling the truth or simply incompetent. Or perhaps both.

Not in scathing. Denard Robinson spoke up for Brady Hoke's character, as did Jordan Kovacs and Elliot Mealer. Former kicker Jay Feely defended Brandon… by attacking the students as whiners.

For Students complaining about $295 season ticket prices, that's about 1/3 price of NFL tickets ... Even bad NFL teams w/ no tradition

They're not just complaining. They're not going. Yelling at them about that doesn't fix the problem. The customer is always right, right? You wanted customers. Now you've got 'em.

The oracle speaks. Detroit media jihadist Jeff Moss likes to get on Wojo for not having strong takes, but the more reasonable you are the more people pay attention to you when you come down from the mountain and say NOPE. Wojo has done so:

Brady Hoke's fate was sealed before Shane Morris wobbled on the field, before the clumsy statements and misstatements, before every media outlet in America leapt on a juicy controversy complete with compelling video.

This is on athletic director Dave Brandon now, and if Hoke should be fired, likely after the season, Brandon should be, too.

That speaks volumes.

Meta-protest. I would like to protest this from Wojo's article, though.

A few hundred fans actually marched onto the lawn of Schlissel's campus house Tuesday night chanting for Brandon's dismissal. There's a mob outrage to this, which is uncomfortable.

It's not a mob until it does something unreasonable. About a thousand people peaceably assembled, talked/shouted at each other, and then dispersed. They wanted to make a point the only way they could, and did.

Actually being there was fun. One guy nearby exclaimed "this is so much better than a home game," and I don't know that he was saying that just because he wasn't watching a football team get its jibblies kicked in at the time. Once a random hero decided to start us all in the direction of the president's house there was more passion on display than these students get to express when Michigan's blasting music at them during every lull.

After, a clearly skeptical media guy came up to me and asked me some nasty questions—"do you think this stunt will hurt Brandon's ability to hire a new coach?" was his leadoff. I was taken aback by "stunt." A stunt is something an organization does for attention. This was the opposite, a movement so grass roots it was literally unorganized.

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We want our athletic department back. If it's a mob it's got the most articulated complaints of any mob in history.

Also that guy with a megaphone takes a badass picture. Apparently he's a public policy senior:

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Just lookin' at that dude like that is more leadership than Brandon's shown this week. #ThisGuy4AD

I LIKE DAN DAKICH. He had me on his show yesterday after I tweeted something jerky out in frustration at things Mike and Mike and Colin Cowherd were saying, and I appreciate the opportunity for a half hour segment, which you can find here. A couple of clarifications and omissions:

  1. Dakich thought some of my other examples of Brandon errors were petty, and they were, but that was the point. The things the hypersensitive Michigan fans have been complaining about for the duration of his tenure have come home to roost in a major way. This is how they handle everything, and there's no reason to expect they'll change.
  2. I don't think I said the Dakich-Burke combo was creepy. I said I was "off to patent a system that turns all color commentary into Dan Dakich hitting on Doris Burke" once; a podcast demanded that "this happens over and over again. GET A ROOM! ON MY TELEVISION!" And I think that's it. For the record, she was totally into him.
  3. Apparently my level was quite a bit lower than Dakich, so when we talked over each other it was just him. Our conversation felt a lot more even to me on the phone; I thought it was a good back and forth—I've had radio appearances that I thought were unfair (cough **ALBOM** cough); this was not one of them.
  4. Dakich really is my favorite color guy other than maybe Jay Bilas right now. The reasons he's good at color can make him come off as abrasive, but I'll take that a thousand times over PRIME TIME PLAYER BAYBEEE blather. I mean, there was one time Michigan was playing K-State where Dakich called one of their post guys out for never passing the ball and he never passed the ball. Every time he got a touch we were on the edge of our seat. That's adding to a broadcast.
  5. I didn't much like the part of the interview that slid into the Guys Like Me From Gary Who Are Adults versus You Guys On The Internet Who Are Beta Males. I have a mortgage, man, and 2005-era blogger cracks are so dated.

Anyway, if he's interested I'll gladly go on any time.

Well… that's not good. Bill Connelly's updated projections foresee this:

  • 8-4 or better: 2.1%
  • Bowl eligible: 35%
  • 4-8 or worse: 33%

Michigan is expected to go 5-7 when all possibilities are jammed together.

And half of this is based on the system that was ranking Michigan 19th before last weekend. It's possible that this is a little grim since we'll probably play Gardner the rest of the way but with Utah losing to WSU it's not like we can even claim the Utes are much good.

Upshot: buy a helmet, and put it on top of your existing helmet. Then dig a bunker under your bunker.

SIDE NOTE: The chance the West winner is 4-4 has dropped to 0.1%. Dagnabit.

Offensive line starts are not particularly indicative, unless you don't have any. Buried in a random Barking Carnival post:

While O-line starts does correlate with stronger offensive performance, it’s not everything. Ohio State is the only team with fewer than 30 O-line starts performing above-average, but they’re well above average, and you don’t have to go much higher before the scatterplot becomes a field of white noise and the trendline levels out.

That said, this chart doesn’t take into account that we’re on a new offensive system and we’ve lost our QB, so the fact that we’re not too far below the trendline for our number of O-line starts is an optimistic takeaway. But honestly it’s not much to hang one’s hat on. If we start playing better, it won’t be just because the players are getting more experience – it’ll be because they’re getting more experience in an effective offensive system.

(Horizontal axis: number of O-line starts at the beginning of the year (Texas is adjusted for current personnel); vertical axis: offensive S&P; and I’m using a power law trendline, to reflect that the difference between 0 & 30 starts should be more impactful than the difference between 90 & 120)

Looks like you're good or not good and OL starts are a very minor factor, what with the random scatter of the plot.

Etc.: The MZone has come back with what's undoubtedly the creepiest post I've ever featured in. Hypothetical AD Rich Rodriguez would have handled this better than Brandon did. I am dead serious about this.

This made Inside Higher Ed, which… okay. Are we in Cat Fancy? I think that's the last outlet that hasn't covered this.

Monday Presser 9-29-14: Players

Monday Presser 9-29-14: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 1st, 2014 at 9:11 AM

players 9-29

Frank Clark, Jake Ryan, and Joe Kerridge

Joe, you’re obviously part of the offensive group. Did you notice anything different about Shane in the huddles after he took that hit and through the rest of the game when you talked to him?

JK: “With Shane, I was on the sideline. I was focused in trying to pay attention to the game. I really didn’t have any communication with Shane throughout that part of the end of the game, so I wasn’t aware of any of the symptoms or anything like that.”

Have you noticed anything, seeing him around the building the last two days, that’s been unusual?

JK: “No. I haven’t seen him in the building, but that’s a question for coach Hoke.”

This is a question for Frank and Jake. Does the team get together after a loss like that and the fallout from it and has there been a team meeting? Does there need to be? Do you guys talk about it, and what do you do going forward?

JR: “I think just us as leaders need to bring guys up and get people’s heads up. After a loss like that that’s what you need to do, and we came in and we did what we needed to do. We got our film in, we got our practice in, and it’s just about keeping guys up and keeping guys focused.”

This is for any one of you. I’m wondering how much communication there is between yourself and maybe coach Hoke on the sideline when you see someone get injured or if you see something happen; if you can go up to him and say something or what that’s like on the sideline.

FC: “I feel like really that’s out of our power. If someone gets injured or things aren’t going in our favor, that’s our coach’s power. He controls everything at the end of the day, [and] we just follow the rules.”

Then if you have an injury, say, on the field, how much of a say do you have in getting back on the field? Are you able to simply tell them, ‘I’m fine’?

FC: “We play football. It’s a difference between being injured and being hurt. Anybody can play hurt, but not many people can play injured. But if you want to play football, if you want to go back on that field as a player he’s going to allow you to go back on that field if it’s not too bad.”

[More after THE JUMP]

Monday Presser 9-29-14: Greg Mattison

Monday Presser 9-29-14: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 30th, 2014 at 2:03 PM

mattison

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Could you please identify yourself for those of us who don’t know you?

“Oh, okay. Greg Mattison. I’m the defensive coordinator.”

 

Coach, you were playing in your half of the field the entire third quarter. That drive right before the half: talk about in terms of what it did maybe getting the momentum-

“Well, I don’t think it changed anything when we went in at halftime. I was disappointed in that. The thing I was looking at there was that if we could stop them and had a timeout left we could possibly get the ball on a short field for our offense, and that’s my mistake. We didn’t get it done and whenever we don’t get it done I look at myself first, and as I looked at the tape- you know, third down…that’s why I don’t believe in stats a lot. Our third downs were adequate. They were adequate.

“There were some second downs we had to do better that we gave up some chunks of yardage [on], but to answer your question you’re exactly right. As I was making the calls, as that was happening I said to myself, ‘We’ve got to stop them here and get that ball for the offense. They’re going to have a heck of a shot at possibly having a short field.’ And then they hit the screen, which they did twice, which was just a very well-educated play and that comes down to one guy making a tackle and the guy made us miss.”

 

Greg, Joe Bolden after the game Saturday talked about kind of a lack of execution and said that was a big problem. [He] mentioned wrapping guys up with David Cobb. What can these guys learn from that? He was really the first guy to run over you guys this season?

“I don’t know if he ran over us but he did better against us than we want anybody to do. He’s a very good running back. I’ve already addressed that with our linebackers and with our defense. We’ve got to play a lot more physical. That was the first time that I felt that we weren’t the leaders in being physical against that offense, and it was guys not getting off blocks, it was guys punching and things that we’ve worked very hard on all camp and just not being physical. I didn’t feel we were as physical as we should be and have to be and we’re working on correcting that right now.”

Is that a defense-wide issue?

“Yeah. It’s total defense. Not just one position, it was total defense. I just didn’t think…you know, we take pride and have all year, take pride in being a very physical team on defense and I just don’t think we did as well as we should have there in that game.”

[After THE JUMP: Greg Mattison scouts Rutgers]

Unverified Voracity Is Just A Bunch Of Mad Quotes

Unverified Voracity Is Just A Bunch Of Mad Quotes

Submitted by Brian on September 30th, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Okay. Time to go, guys.

Ain't nothing to f with. God bless the Daily.

From the paper:

“What I can tell you is we would never, ever, put a guy on the field when there is a possibility with head trauma. We won't do that.”

He later added the following in the same press conference:

“We would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game.”

More than 12 hours later, at 12:52 a.m. Tuesday, a statement released by Athletic Director Dave Brandon confirmed sophomore quarterback Shane Morris had indeed suffered a “probable, mild concussion” resulting from a helmet-to-helmet hit in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

Small actions. There is a petition that anyone with a uniqname can sign that has hit 4200 signatures already. And there is a Diag rally calling for Brandon's firing at 6 PM.

This is very depressing. As you probably noticed on Saturday, Lloyd Carr's grandson has an inoperable brain tumor.

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If you're inclined to pray, keep Chad in your thoughts.

All the wrong stuff. Maize and Brew:

"Without the benefit of replays." Apparently the 20 million dollars worth of scoreboard on each end of the stadium wasn't quite enough. Besides the fact that everybody in that stadium saw the replay, the bigger question is how in the world did anybody not see the hit? Even assuming every coach turned away from Shane the moment he let go of the ball and nobody saw the hit coming, shouldn't the team neurologist have his eyes glued to Shane? After all, on a passing play concussions will come either at the QB or the WR, but given his ankle injury and Michigan's offensive line concern I'd say QB was much more likely. Plus shouldn't all team health staff, medical or training, be looking at the limping QB under center? For Dave Brandon to say nobody saw the hit on the field means he either believes it or believes we will believe it. That makes him a liar, an idiot or both.

Andrew Kahn talked to the guy who does concussion stuff for the Jets and Giants:

“It was obvious to anyone who saw him in the aftermath of that hit that he was not right,” says Kenneth Perrine, a clinical neuropsychologist at New York Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell Medical College and the consulting neuropsychologist for the New York Jets and New York Islanders, where he evaluates players with concussions. “At the very least he could have sustained a concussion.”

More reactions. Spencer Hall:

if you are one of the 10 people whose primary beef is to claim it's irresponsible to say that Morris had a concussion, you have internalized the language of the law, reaching insane abstraction in defense of the indefensible. Morris took the crown of a helmet to his chin, then was visibly disoriented while having serious difficulty standing. An MMA ref would have stopped this fight cold. That's how bad this looked: an MMA event would have taken better care of Morris than a collegiate athletics staff did on Saturday.

But sure, point to the man on fire. Tell someone you don't know that man's on fire. You did spy the application of gasoline. You did see the striking of a match and the ignition of a flame on a person's body. But you don't know the fire was what did the damage, do you? Did you establish this with medical personnel? Did you obtain a record of that? Fire's done a lot for us as a species; indeed, we would be long dead without it. Don't just slander fire like that. And who can say the person applying the match knew what he was doing, for sure? Did you ask them if they have an understanding of gasoline/fire relations, chemically speaking? Prove these things, or say nothing.

Spencer's coming up for the Penn State game, by the way, so… yeah. That'll be quite a piece.

Jane Coaston:

I am an extremely loyal person. Too loyal. Especially to Michigan.

Hoke demurred to protect a player dismissed from the university for a violation of the sexual misconduct policy, and I didn't really say anything, because apparently I'm only a feminist until it gets awkward and uncomfortable. Brady Hoke explained away losing in a dipshit manner to opponents less hamstrung by idiocy, and I sighed and tried to move on, because I'm a Michigan fan.

Maize and Blue Nation with the clutch Lebowski embed:

Either Hoke is lying, or Dave Brandon chose not to include Hoke in his meetings with all related parties. One might be attempting to separate themselves from the other here, but its not going to work. This is on both of them. Hoke is Brandon's guy. That can't be undone.

The Daily:

Even 24 hours later, Hoke didn’t acknowledge the possibility of a head injury, referring only to Morris “further aggravating an injury to his leg” in a statement to reporters. He added he is “confident proper medical decisions were made.”

They very clearly were not.

Whether Hoke witnessed what occurred on the field or not, it’s his job to know everything that goes on around his football team, with the health of players at the forefront of those responsibilities.

And so it is the position from all four of us on The Michigan Daily Football Beat that Hoke be fired immediately.

The Mood hits an all time low:

mood[1]

The Hoover Street Rag imagines a way in which Hoke could have given a non-repulsive press conference:

Good afternoon, everyone.  After the game on Saturday, I watched the footage of Shane taking that shot to the head.  I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't catch that live, and I didn't see him stumble afterward.  That's on me.  We as coaches need to be aware of our players' safety at all times, and I failed there.

As a staff, we should have immediately gotten Shane out of that game, regardless of whether he wanted to come out.  Shane's a tough kid and a fighter, so of course he wants to stay in, but it's our job to sit him down there.

MVictors:

But why was Hoke hung out to dry and not told this was all happening?  This isn’t just a “medical report”.  If Hoke was told this was all happening, at the Monday presser could have talked about his responsibility and perspective on Saturday, but then he should have added, ‘..but we’re reviewing everything that happened to understand what mistakes (if any) were made’ and that the ‘details will be coming soon’, etc. etc.

Nick Baumgardner:

On Monday afternoon, Brandon allowed his head football coach to step to a press conference podium in an absolute no-win situation. Hoke was unprepared, unsupported and left there to face live bullets.

Alone.

On Monday afternoon, Brandon threw Hoke -- a man he hired in 2011 -- under the bus, and hung him out to dry.

Hoover Street Rag:

…the statement comes about 24 hours too late. If that statement is issued at 12:52 AM on Monday morning, there's grumbling and some side-eye. At 12:52 AM on Tuesday morning, everything has changed. Michigan has been put under the microscope on not just ESPN, but has crossed all the way over to Good Morning America. You've promised the media a "medical statement" that never really showed up, unless this is it. And you've sent your head football coach up to his press conference to stand there and look like someone's idiot cousin you wouldn't trust to run a doughnut shop, let alone a multi-million-dollar football program where young men risk their health and safety on a daily basis.

To be fair, this may be the case. Brandon's statement says that Morris was diagnosed with a concussion on Sunday. Brady Hoke didn't get in touch with his injured quarterback to ask how he's doing? Or Shane Morris didn't know he has a concussion? Neither of these seem reasonable, and one is more plausible than the other.

HSR again:

My one-year-old's still figuring out this whole language thing, but she has a couple of sentences figured out. Her first sentence was probably "Go dog go," which she uttered in order to request the book of the same name. Lately, she has been saying "Are you OK?" a lot. These two sentences are apparently enough to make her a qualified medical professional for Michigan football:

NATALIE: Are you OK?
SHANE MORRIS: I'm fine.
NATALIE (pointing Shane onto the field): Go, dog, go!

The hundred-million dollar elephant in the room. Stephen Ross on Dave Brandon:

"He's probably the most qualified athletic director in the country. I think he's terrific," said billionaire real estate developer Stephen Ross, a UM alumnus who has given the university $310 million in recent years.

This is a problem. It's a lot less of a problem than when the article came out just hours before the Minnesota game—Ross may like Brandon just fine but have we shown you these other guys who aren't flamingly incompetent?

Also in the room, Brandon's terrible contract:

Michigan signaled its approval of Brandon's work when it gave him a new contract in July 2012 that pays him a base salary of $900,000 in 2014-15. The six-year deal is through 2018, and pays him a $5.55 million base, and he can earn up to $1.3 million in deferred compensation through 2018. He gets fringe benefits such as free tickets, use of two cars, a golf club membership, and travel reimbursement for his wife.

Brandon's contract stipulates that if he's fired without cause prior to Jan. 1, 2016, the university must pay him his remaining base salary and his remaining deferred compensation. Firing him after that date reduces the payout to 50 percent of both the remaining base salary and deferred compensation.

100% guaranteed until 2016. Unbelievable. What possible reason would you have to do that?

BTW, that article includes the credulous claim that Brandon was a "finalist" for the NFL commissioner's job, something that is not true.

Cheaper. Hoke's buyout is a chump change two million, at least:

If he’s not -- if he’s fired by athletic director Dave Brandon, or the university board of regents, or U-M president Mark Schlissel or any of the above -- it will come at a heavy cost.

According to Hoke’s contract, signed on March 28, 2011, he will be owed $2 million to buy out the remaining two years (2015, 2016) left on his contract.

That's nothing compared to Weis/Ferentz level buyouts.

Much better shirt repping. This guy understands his apparel:

NoMore_thumb[1]

Etc.: Center Ice on the new blueliners. Bacon's on every radio station in the country today; here's his appearance on Here and Now yesterday. Headsetssssss. We're in the New York Times so I guess that coo—oh it's about the concussion. Also the Daily Mail.

Might?

Brandon Statement On Morris Incident

Brandon Statement On Morris Incident

Submitted by Brian on September 30th, 2014 at 1:38 AM

In Full:

Ultimate responsibility for the health and safety of our student-athletes resides with each team's coach and with me, as the Director of Athletics. We are committed to continuously improving our procedures to better protect the health and welfare of our student-athletes.

I have had numerous meetings beginning Sunday morning to thoroughly review the situation that occurred at Saturday's football game regarding student-athlete Shane Morris. I have met with those who were directly involved and who were responsible for managing Shane's care and determining his medical fitness for participation.

In my judgment, there was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline. Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes. I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.

I have worked with Darryl Conway, my associate athletic director for Student-Athlete Health and Welfare, to develop a detailed accounting of the events that occurred. Darryl is the person who oversees all athletic training personnel and serves as the liaison to the physicians we work with through the University of Michigan Health System and University Health Services.

It is important to note that our athletic trainers and physicians working with Michigan Athletics have the unchallengeable authority to remove student-athletes from the field of play. Michigan Athletics has numerous medical professionals at every football competition including certified athletic trainers and several physicians from various relevant specialties.

I, along with Darryl and our administrative and medical teams, have spent much of the last two days carefully reviewing the situation regarding Shane Morris. We now understand that, despite having the right people on the sidelines assessing our student-athletes' well being, the systems we had in place were inadequate to handle this unique and complex situation properly.

With his permission, I can share that Shane Morris suffered an ankle injury during the third quarter of Saturday's game. He was evaluated for that injury by an orthopedic surgeon and an athletic trainer several times during the game. With each of these evaluations it was determined that his ankle injury did not prevent him from playing.

In the fourth quarter, Shane took a significant hit and stumbled after getting up. From the field level and without the benefit of replays, medical and coaching staffs did not see the hit. Because they did not see the hit, the athletic training staff believed Shane stumbled because of his ankle injury. The team neurologist, watching from further down the field, also did not see the hit. However, the neurologist, with expertise in detecting signs of concussion, saw Shane stumble and determined he needed to head down the sideline to evaluate Shane.

Shane came off the field after the following play and was reassessed by the head athletic trainer for the ankle injury. Since the athletic trainer had not seen the hit to the chin and was not aware that a neurological evaluation was necessary, he cleared Shane for one additional play.

The neurologist and other team physicians were not aware that Shane was being asked to return to the field, and Shane left the bench when he heard his name called and went back into the game. Under these circumstances, a player should not be allowed to re-enter the game before being cleared by the team physician. This clearly identifies the need for improvements in our sideline and communications processes.

Following the game, a comprehensive concussion evaluation was completed and Shane has been evaluated twice since the game. As of Sunday, Shane was diagnosed with a probable, mild concussion, and a high ankle sprain. That probable concussion diagnosis was not at all clear on the field on Saturday or in the examination that was conducted post-game. Unfortunately, there was inadequate communication between our physicians and medical staff and Coach Hoke was not provided the updated diagnosis before making a public statement on Monday. This is another mistake that cannot occur again.

Going forward, we have identified two changes in our procedures that we will implement immediately:

We will have an athletic medicine professional in the press box or video booth to ensure that someone will have a bird's eye view of the on-field action, have television replay available and have the ability to communicate with medical personnel on the sidelines.

We are also examining how to reinforce our sideline communication processes and how decisions will be made in order to make sure that information regarding student-athlete availability to participate is communicated effectively amongst the medical team and to our coaches.

We have learned from this experience, and will continue to improve ways to keep our student-athletes' health and safety our number one priority.

MGoPodcast 6.5: Loyal To Our Sorrowful Country

MGoPodcast 6.5: Loyal To Our Sorrowful Country

69 minutes

15189130798_2dec8e8f80_z

YOINK [Bryan Fuller]

DOOM STUFF

Fire people for so many reasons.

COACHING CANDIDATES

Dan Mullen? Mike Gundy? BOB STITT. Coordinators. Swinging for the fences with no slam dunks available outside of the Harbaugh Hail Marys.

BIG TEN

So much for Indiana in Indianapolis.

MUSIC

"Across 110th Street"
"There's No Home For You Here," The White Stripes
"Loyal To My Sorrowful Country," Ted Leo (Balgeary EP version)

THE USUAL LINKS

One Frame At A Time: Fire Hoke

One Frame At A Time: Fire Hoke

Submitted by Ace on September 29th, 2014 at 1:33 PM

These are actual quotes from Brady Hoke's presser this afternoon. I could not make them up if I tried, because they are appalling. Click the stills to open each GIF in a lightbox.

“I know there’s been a lot of talk, speculation, innuendos, whatever.” — Brady Hoke.

"We would never, ever, put a guy on the field when there's a possibility of head trauma." — Brady Hoke.


LOOK AT THE PLAY CLOCK

THIS IS NOT MICHIGAN

THIS IS NOT MICHIGAN

Submitted by Brian on September 29th, 2014 at 9:24 AM

9/27/2014 – Michigan 14, Minnesota 30 – 2-3, 0-1 Big Ten

Brady Hoke is too incompetent to be Michigan's coach. He's too incompetent to be responsible for 85 kids who might get badly hurt at any moment. Hell, he's too incompetent to run a Hooters. Do not eat the chicken at Brady Hoke Hooters. That's not chicken.

And that's the nice way to interpret the information presented to us. It's one thing when Michigan is sending out ten guys in their dinosaur punt formation, one thing when they have the country's worst offense relative to available hyped recruits two years running. It's one thing when Michigan is pretending to try by getting Devin Funchess's ankle mangled in the waning moments of a 31-0 game. These are all fireable offenses, but year-end fireable offenses.

It's another thing when the Yakety Sax chaos that has come to symbolize the Hoke regime puts one of Hoke's "115 sons" in danger, as it did Saturday.

Shane Morris had just taken a headshot from a defensive end. He momentarily lost the ability to use his limbs. There was no real reason for him to be in the game anyway, what with his 49 passing yards and air of being totally overwhelmed. And Hoke threw him out there, because he "didn't see" his quarterback stagger onto one of his offensive linemen.

Even if that implausible excuse is true, somebody did. The announcers did. Doug Nussmeier—who was desperately trying to get his quarterback to fall on the ground—did. There were 80,000 people still in the stadium looking at the quarterback, and

EVERY

GODDAMNED

ONE

OF

THEM

knew Shane Morris had just had a very bad thing happen to his brain. When he was left in, they booed vociferously. This is where we're at: the guys booing in the stands are doing so because they fear for the players' health.

This is a long, long way from the "they ain't got no heart" guys from the Rodriguez era. Booing is now the only agency you have when something reprehensible is going on in front of your face. It's gone from childish to necessary.

Brady Hoke had no idea, and even more damningly nobody on his sideline had the sense to overrule the guy who purports to be the head coach. Some guys started yelling at Russell Bellomy to get his helmet on when Gardner lost his a couple plays after entering; Bellomy tried about 50 because he never dreamed he'd go in a game again. Morris re-entered the game. Did he have a concussion?

"Shane's a pretty competitive, tough kid. Shane wanted to be the quarterback. Believe me, if he didn't want to be, he would've come to the sideline, or stayed down."

That is unacceptable. Brady Hoke should have been fired walking off the field.

-------------------------------------

Dave Brandon is too stupid to be Michigan's athletic director. After a day-long lambasting culminating in ABC's World News Tonight slamming the program, they released a breathtakingly tone-deaf statement that is a flat-out lie.

We generally never discuss the specifics of a student-athlete's medical care, but Shane Morris was removed from yesterday's game against Minnesota after further aggravating an injury to his leg that he sustained earlier in the contest

This is how Shane Morris aggravated his leg injury.

Who are you going to believe, Dave Brandon and his lawyers or your lying eyes?

It does not matter whether Morris was concussed or not. What matters is that Shane Morris showed obvious signs of a concussion immediately after taking a wicked head shot and was permitted to stay in the game, then re-entered some 90 seconds after departing, well before any serious concussion check could be completed. The NFL's process takes 8-12 minutes. The NHL requires players suspected to have sustained a concussion to be removed from the ice and taken to a quiet place for evaluation.

Michigan was flagrantly negligent about Shane Morris's safety. Period.

And then they lied about it. To your face. Because they think you're too fucking dumb to do anything about it.

Michigan's athletic department has been insulting the intelligence of their fans for years with offended statements about how they weren't really going to do the thing they said they were going to do and the thing you're mad about definitely is your fault, not theirs. That was bad enough for petty things like noodles; this is the athletic department lying to the nation about a matter of real import.

This opinion is universal outside a small corps of true believers who have inexplicable faith in the people who are just in charge of the Michigan athletic department.  Hoke has been condemned by the ESPN announcers, Deadspin, Business Insider, Yahoo, Andy Staples, Nick Baumgardner, Wojo, Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel, USA Today's Nicole Auerbach, CBS, CBS again, USA Today's George Schroeder and virtually every other person to offer an opinion about college football this year. Hell, a news program aimed at olds did a segment on it, just after they talked about ISIS.

The die has been cast. Until Brady Hoke and Dave Brandon are removed from this program, This Is Michigan: incompetent liars.

I can't stand by and watch this anymore.

----------------------------

This program is broken. The coach is too dumb to be in charge of other people. The athletic director is so loathed that when the remainder of the student section started to chant something after the concussion fiasco, they went with "FIRE BRANDON." Tickets go for two cokes, and that's too expensive.

Stephen Ross is defending Brandon, and I feel helpless. The thing I love most in the world has been held hostage by unacceptable people. So I'm going to do two things.

I'M NOT GOING TO THE MARYLAND GAME. (Unless Hoke and Brandon are gone.) This is going to break a home attendance streak dating back to the 1997 opener, when I was a freshman, but it's the only thing I can do to show my disgust at the state of the program. I'm not selling my ticket—not that I could sell it for anything. I am eating it. I urge you to do the same. Yeah, it sucks for the players. I am more concerned about sending a message about the program as a whole than making anyone feel bad.

#boycottmaryland

Do it for all of us. I hate it with the fury of a thousand suns, but this is the only thing we have left.

I'M RUNNING FOR REGENT IN 2016. I don't know how or with who yet, but the  board of regents is a broken institution that privately conspires to vote unanimously in favor of everything, in violation of the law. They accepted the presence of Dave Brandon; they run the worst FOIA office in the country; they are supposed to be the check on an increasingly overpaid and unaccountable administrative class at Michigan. They are failures.

Leaders and best. I still believe that. Goddammit, I do. I started the Every Three Weekly with Amol Parulekar and Mike Chu and Paul Malewitz and Michigan allowed that to happen despite it being an obviously not-great idea for them. I learned how to code; I didn't go to my discrete math class for the entire semester and that was cool; I got my brain rearranged by Stephen Kaplan in an immensely productive way. Michigan is awesome. It is awesome in spite of the people in charge of the university's front door.

I love this place, which gave me my education, livelihood, and wife. I am going to do the thing I can to try to help it.

morris-cart

Because this is not Michigan.

[After THE JUMP: more reasons to fire Brady Hoke.]