Monday Presser 9-29-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 29th, 2014 at 4:14 PM

hoke 9-15


Opening remarks:

“Number one, thanks for coming. I know there's been a lot of talk, a lot of speculation, a lot of rumors, innuendo, whatever on what happened and what's going on with Shane.

Obviously I can tell you from my perspective of being on the sideline what I know and I'm going to touch [on] some of those things a little bit, but at the same time I think there's other experts that will also have a statement and an opinion.

I'm a football coach. Some of you don't think we’re doing that very well but that's what I do. I don't make decisions who plays, who doesn't play as far as when there's injuries and particularly if there was any head trauma or head injuries. And for those of you who know or don't know I would never put a kid in that situation. Never have and never will because you get into this to coach kids, believe me. And that's what this game is all about, and helping those guys in a lot of different ways. So we are not going to– as a staff I can assure you that's never going to happen.

“The one thing I can tell you is during the process of… let me share this first. Number one, we practiced yesterday. We practiced last night and Shane Morris would have practiced were it not for a high ankle sprain, and that's one reason I'm telling you that is because that's what I've been told and a high ankle sprain, they have a new word for it that I can't really pronounce but he would have practiced if it wasn't for that.

During the course of the game when Devin lost– and I think that's where the critical junction is for some of you, but the…Devin's helmet comes off and my intention is to go out and I get the referee’s attention who I think, by the way, is one of the better referees in this league, and I want to buy him back with a timeout. That, and when I say that- and I've talked to the Big Ten about this, I've talked to Bill Carollo last night about this, I was told I couldn't buy him back and I said, ‘Yeah, I can buy him back,’ so him and I had a little bit of a discussion because you can buy back in because of the helmet, not because of any injury but because of the helmet coming off.

Well, the linesman comes up and him and I, I say ‘I want to buy him back,’ and the referee says you can't do that’ and the miscommunication or whatever it might be, the head linesman says, ‘Yes, you can’ and so by that time Shane’s on the field taking one more snap, handing the ball off, [and] Devin gets his helmet back on. That's how that sequence went.

What I can tell you is we would never, ever put a guy on the field when there's a possibility of head trauma and we won't do that. Guys play beat up every day. If they’re not beat up a little bit, they’re never 100%, then we need to – then they’re not doing much. Guys also have nicks and bumps and bruises and strains and everything else. I can also tell you that football is a sport where guys have got to be highly competitive and they are highly competitive because they love to play the game and they love to compete and that's just part of their DNA. And I think it's different, obviously, than a lot of other things and professions and those things.

“Let me finish with we've got to do a better job of playing football, coaching football and being a team. We get to go to Rutgers this week and we’re excited about that. Had a good practice last night. Focused on the fundamentals and the techniques that you need to have and that is what this game is. We played a little bit- and I know Jack Miller said this after the game, offensively we played a little bit of 10 man football and you can't do that. Every guy has a responsibility. Every guy has to do their job.

“Defensively, I think the disappointing thing is our tackling and leveraging the ball. I don't think and we don't think we did a good enough job there and that was addressed last night and will be addressed throughout the week. We’re excited about going to Rutgers. These are the two schools, besides the Ivy League schools, playing football. I think the history of those two schools playing football besides the Ivies, so that's exciting and it'll be a new environment so we’re excited to get on the road.”

[Much more after THE JUMP]


Brady, going back to Shane: how do you rule out that there is a head issue, a concussion possibly? Did he go through the protocol on the sidelines?

“Like I said, you’ll have a statement from our medical department.”

Brady, you said after the game that you didn’t see Shane’s reaction to that late hit when it happened. I’m guessing you’ve seen it since. Hindsight being 20/20, do you think-

“I'm not going to – hindsight is good. It's easy today. It’s easy yesterday So, you know, as far as seeing the film I saw the film yesterday and saw the coaches copy and obviously we turned in the hit.

But what I was going to ask is do you think he should have come out immediately and stayed out?

“Again, you're being hypothetical, and we’re not going to work in hypothetics”


Brady, you say that the head coach shouldn’t be making those type of calls, you have other experts to make those type of calls.

“Yes sir.”

But shouldn’t the head coach oversee this since you are the guy who’s in those recruits family’s-

“Well, I'm not going to – I think you're wrong there because I'm not going to, if our trainer says one thing I'm not going to say the other because he knows that. If our doctor says one thing and this guy has studied in the field and knows that, it'd be like him telling me run a zone blitz on third down. What does he know about a zone blitz on third down? So to me that doesn’t make any sense to override [a medical decision].”

The perception is you were not aware that this was a possibility, and shouldn’t the head coach be aware?

“Well, that’s your perception. Not my perception. I knew the kid had an ankle injury. That’s what I knew.”

Brady, before he gets hit high and falls down, and before this whole head injury thing begins he appeared to have some sort of ankle injury [or] leg injury as you said. Why was he still in the game at the point when he-

“Because he felt like he could still play. When the injury happened, and I’m not going to get into all this, I’ll let our medical people talk about it but when the injury happened the first time he came back and could play on it. Guy’s a competitor. He feels he could play on it. He comes in- when he comes back in [he] hands the ball off, checks the play, he checks it the right way [and] does everything he’s supposed to do.”

And then when he does come out of the game why is he still allowed to even have his helmet at that point? Why is he-

“He hasn’t been diagnosed- again, you’ll get it. Sometime you’ll get it.”

Brady, I was going to follow up: he has not been diagnosed with a concussion? Can you say that?

“Everything that I know of, no.”

Can I just follow up on the hit: you did send something to the Big Ten? You thought that was targeting?


So when Shane, after that hit when he’s on the field, is there a doctor telling you there’s no chance of a head injury? If he stays in that game how do you know there’s no chance of a head injury?

“Again, I’ll let them- their statement will speak for itself. Okay?”

Just one more follow-up, Brady. You said you didn’t see him wobbling per se, but you were assuming that everything he was going through was because of the ankle and nothing else?


You were assuming that because of what you saw-


…and not because of what someone told you on the sideline?

“Well, that’s what the kid- when he went like this to the trainer [/waves hands across each other] that he was fine, that tells you something.”

After that high hit was there any communication between yourself and Doug Nussmeier, who was very clearly interacting with Shane Morris as he was stumbling around the field?

“Say that again.”

Was there any communication between you and Doug Nussmeier, who was communicating with Shane Morris on the field?

“Well, Doug and I were talking, yeah, about how he was doing. And the kid, when he waved off the trainers, kind of told you how he was doing. As far as communication about that, no, not as much.”

Brady, the video afterwards is kind of what’s drawn a lot of the criticism. Did you see him stumble? Where were you looking when he was stumbling? Were you doing other things on the sideline, and did you see that afterward and what was your reaction to it?

“The video of…?”

Of Shane; one of his linemen holding him up as he sort of stumbled and looked woozy.

“Well, that wasn’t- his ankle gave out. That’s what he told me, so, you know. Did I see that? Yeah, I saw Ben Braden there. But I didn’t see the hit either because I was traveling the ball down the field.”

So the stumble: he said that was a result of his ankle and not his head?

“Yes. Yeah, he said his ankle hurt.”

I won’t pretend to know your system, and I know that you as a head coach have a lot to do one the sideline but don’t you have people dedicated during the game-

“There are.”

…to watching for possible injuries like that and then fully checking them out, and did that happen?

“I would assume, yes. Because they do every other time.”

And since all of this has happened have you personally talked with Shane Morris?

“Yeah. I saw him yesterday. Saw him this morning.”

Since it may not be possible for the coach to see everybody’s reaction to every possible hit on every play from where your vantage point is, do you want your players to be more proactive in signaling to the sidelines if a lineman is having to help the quarterback stay on his feet, to get the sideline’s attention and say, ‘Hey, this guy needs to be out of here.’ Are your guys conditioned to do that or-?

“Number one, I think the mentality is as a player and I think how the players are, they love to compete and they love to play. So if you’re asking about that mentality I think that’s what they all have. That’s what they’ve done since whenever they started playing the game. I think they also know if the injury is one where you don’t think you can continue to go to go down.”

Brady, you said just a couple of answers ago that you assume he was checked on the sideline and cleared to go back in.

“They would- yeah.”

As the leader of this team, the ultimate man that’s accountable for the kids [and] the program, will you in the future if a situation like this were to arise again do you think that you should and will handle it differently?

“Well, I don’t know. I think that’s a little bit hypothetical. I do know one thing. When a guy is out of the game they tell me. And they have consistently for the last three years when a guy’s been ruled out.”

Brady, you said you didn’t see the hit.


Is there a way you could fix that in the future? The question’s out there: the whole headset thing. Will you put your headsets on now?

“No. Thank you.”

Is this criticism that’s coming from some quarters, is this unfair?

“Well, I don’t know. I think there’s things were there should be some criticism when we talk about the performance, and that’s me and coaching. I understand that. But when your integrity and character is attacked, I think-that is really unwarranted.”

Your interest in the well-being of these student-athletes: is that paramount?

“That’s why you coach. That’s why I got into coaching. To help kids. Well, helping kids is also their welfare and their health. I mean, we would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game. And never have.”

Brady, you just said health and welfare is the number one priority for you, but do you feel that your staff, your sideline-


…needs to do a better job-

“Well, I’m not going to say yes. No, I think they do a good job. I’ve never had a problem. Never had a problem. They’ve always been- when a guy goes down and a guy can’t come back, or they think that he’s done for the day or whatever…I mean, I’ve always been alerted to that.”

I guess at what point then…you say a lot of it is up to the kid and how he feels, but at what point-

“I mean, there’s some of it. Obviously we’re going to be smart enough if a guy can’t run right or has a problem somewhere- obviously head injuries are a totally different thing, because a lot of those guys are playing with bruises and bumps and stuff like that.”

But that’s sort of my point, though. It appeared that he wasn’t mobile, didn’t appear to be able to run at that point. Do you not have to get him out of the football game before the head hit even happens?

“Well, I don’t know about that because they tested him out and checked him out.”

Can you just kind of touch on how this has been handled internally in terms of how it’s been addressed with Dave Brandon [and] the university. How’s that play out-

“I’m getting ready to play Rutgers. That’s what I’ve been doing. Getting ready to play Rutgers. Getting the staff and the team ready to go play Rutgers. That’s what I’ve been doing.”

So, Brady, you haven’t had any conversations with Dave Brandon, or have you, about this or about job performance in general?


In the last day or two…


So he wasn’t involved in the discussion about the Shane Morris injury?

“Not that I know of.”


Adam Schnepp

September 29th, 2014 at 5:52 PM ^

What I was going to ask was asked very quickly in slightly different words. It also happens to fall into the "it'll be covered in the medical team's release" category. FWIW I asked Nussmeier the question I would have asked Hoke and got nothing substantive.

One Armed Bandit

September 29th, 2014 at 4:24 PM ^

Billy Flynn rolled into one. He just keeps dancing, hoping to fool everyone while spewing whatever comes out of his mouth, hoping someone will believe him.

Brady's becoming a tragic character. Sad to see, but it is his fault.


September 29th, 2014 at 10:00 PM ^

Honestly, I don't care.  He's probably telling the truth.  The problem is that's just as bad because it means they did EVERYTHING wrong.

Maybe Morris didn't have a concussion.  Maybe he was cleared to play.  Maybe Hoke didn't know.  Maybe it's not his decision.  That's not the point.  The point is that they didn't even try to make that determination, or take any precautions.  That's a protocol issue, an unacceptable breakdown.  I mean, just think about it:


Does it really matter what Hoke knew, if he's telling the truth, or what state Morris was in?

It's like any horrible scandal -- innocence doesn't exonerate you in the least, because if you're not complicit, that means you're too damn stupid to be in a position of responsibility in the first place.


September 29th, 2014 at 4:29 PM ^

This clarifies at least two things 1) none of this was malicious and 2) Hoke does not understand that delegation does not absolve one of responsibility. Just because the medical staff has always done something one way in the past, that does not mean you are absolved from sending Shane back in when a concussion test clearly could not have been performed. So long as Brady remains HC, he MUST wear his headset so he, in real time, can understand all that is happening. Although I doubt anyone will make him do this. He clearly won't.

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September 29th, 2014 at 4:44 PM ^

The concussion test should have been performed well before he was sent back in. It should have been done as soon as he got speared in the chin and got up dazed and wobbly. He should have been taken out immediately for the test and I could give a fuck if he waved off his coaches (or if he ultimately did not have a concussion). The fact that Hoke keeps bringing up the "waving off" makes me sick.

True Blue Grit

September 29th, 2014 at 4:56 PM ^

and never gone back in, regardless of whether there was a concussion or not.  He was totally ineffective as a QB AND had a bad ankle.  There's no way he should have still been in the game.  Hoke's stubborness and stupidity kept him in which resulted in the game getting completely out of hand before Gardner could try and salvage the day. 


September 29th, 2014 at 5:16 PM ^

Oh I completely agree with you but leaving in a player despite ankle injury/ineffectiveness can be chalked up to a coach's decision which, no matter how dumb, there can be some benefit-of-the-doubt given (kind of like the business judgment rule in corporate law that says boards of directors have lots of leeway to make decisions for their companies no matter how idiotic they may be perceived, unless they breach some fiduciary duty to the shareholders).

In this case, where there can be absolutely no benefit-of-the-doubt given is with a possible head injury, given the importance of this issue.  Shane gets hit in the head and gets up wobbly to the point he can't stand by himself (even if it ends up being due to his ankle), he goes out.


September 29th, 2014 at 11:18 PM ^

It would have been nice to know Hoke's thought process for leaving Morris in the game, besides the fact that "he is a competitor." Wish someone would have asked...

"I understand Morris is a competitor, but it was the 3rd quarter you're down two scores, Morris had 49 yards passing and was hobbling around on one leg.  What made you think that Morris gave you the best option to win at that point with a bum ankle?"

It is for this reason he needs to be fired.  


September 29th, 2014 at 4:30 PM ^

Hoke says that he has not talked to DB about this.  IT WAS ON THE NEWS! It's front page ESPN and YAHOO!

Even if the medical staff says, "we told the Coach Hoke that Shane was 100% ok to play" and Shane's mom said "Play him, coach!" and the ghost of Dave Duerson came back from the great beyond and said "concussions are no big deal, he'll be fine", even then, you'd think DB would make a phone call, no?  How can the University be investigating, or reviewing their policies, or establishing new guidelines, if the AD isn't talking the the coach?


After a humilitaing home loss, shouldn't the AD, y'know, at least CHECK IN with the coach? If *I* had an employee take a dump in the lobby then roll around in it, I'd probably make a phone call.


That is so utterly outrageous, it might be true.


September 29th, 2014 at 4:35 PM ^

You had the full playclock to figure it out, and worst case you take a timeout or even a delay of game penalty.  What you do not do is put Morris back out there.  There are a whole universe of options, and the only one that was absolutely wrong was the one that Hoke picked.


September 29th, 2014 at 4:35 PM ^

and I can only look forward to the near future when other articles and posts will have supplanted it on the front page.

Saddest moments in my years of Michigan fandom, which reaches back to the 1970s.


September 29th, 2014 at 4:37 PM ^

whats everybodies take on the fact that he hasn't talked to DB? A lie? Incompetence from DB? A sign of whats coming? DB sits in on film study and is constantly looking over Hoke's shoulder, and all of a sudden he is no where to be found?  I find that very hard to believe...


September 29th, 2014 at 4:38 PM ^

I'm not sure if this is the place for this, but since all of the threads here have pretty much collapsed into a series of open threads on the Morris fiasco, I think it's worth noting that ESPN is reporting that Jovan Belcher (Chiefs LB, big player in anti-violence groups who shockingly killed his girlfriend and comitted suicide two years ago) showed signs of CTE.

Partly it's a concerning indictment on football in general, but also its a reminder that THIS IS FUCKING SERIOUS.…


September 29th, 2014 at 4:38 PM ^

I mean...really?  We are supposed to believe that?  I can almost buy the lie that it wasn't Hoke's decision and that the kid wanted to go and Hoke didn't want to shut him down...

But after the National News, ESPN and everyone else calling this out...He HASN'T SPOKEN TO BRANDON AND BRANDON HASN'T SPOKEN TO HIM?

Which is worse?  That he's lying?  OR THAT THEY HAVEN'T SPOKEN ON THE SUBJECT!!!

I'm appalled and saddened...Really...

Where's bottom?  Help me....


September 29th, 2014 at 4:42 PM ^

I wish he would just admit he was wrong, apologize, and probably resign. Being a lousy football coach is one thing. I hate seeing him sacrifice his integrity like this.

Frieze Memorial

September 29th, 2014 at 4:44 PM ^

Ugh, how cringe-inducing. Professionally i don't feel sorry for Hoke.  

Personally I can't help feeling sorry for him.  Get your dream job, and completely and utterly ruin it ... in the most public way possible.  It's like watching a movie where they execute some murderer and a weird part of you feels sorry for the guy, you're like, "come on man, if you just had made some different decisions everything would be OK!"

Please make this stop!


September 29th, 2014 at 5:19 PM ^

It's your dream job?  Don't fuck it up.  I gave Hoke the benefit of the doubt, but last week he crossed a line.  Watching him try to cover his ass is disgusting and pathetic.  If anyone -- ANYONE -- notices your QB is wobbly, you take him off the field ANYWAY.  It's not a question of "you keep him on the field UNTIL a medically qualified person says no", you take him out precisely because the HC is NOT qualified!  The whole point is the remove the element of risk, not seek a goddamn doctor's approval to STOP playing Russian Roulette with your players.  It's the only acceptable way to handle a "what if" scenario.

I can feel sorry for a professional experiencing bad luck.  That's how I felt about the ND game.  I can't feel sorry for any professional that was criminally negligent and then goes "oops" afterwards.  The only ethical move in that case is resignation.

This does make me wonder why it's a "dream job" for him, though.  Michigan comes with expectations that Hoke has placed on everyone but himself.  Michigan was not a school stuck in the past.  You don't build legacy by looking backwards, but that's how we got here, to this steaming pile of crap.

I've thought over why people around here hate the term "Michigan Man", and I think it mostly has to do with a well-deserved dislike of legacy hires.  The thing about the Brandon hire is that where we're at now exemplifies the state of the school as a whole, from the coaches to the AD to the Regents.  Michigan WAS great, but the people at the top are incompetent, incestuous boobs getting fat and rich off a century of past success, like a bunch of trust fund babies running the family business into the ground.

Hoke is a "Michigan Man" in that he's a legacy hire.  He is NOT a Michigan Man in terms of the values the term supposedly carries with it.  Which, I might add, you'll find in plenty of candidates that never went within a hundred miles of Ann Arbor.  Hell, Bo effin' Schembechler was an OUTSIDE HIRE and he's as "Michigan" as it gets.

I believe in the concept of a "Michigan Man" (setting aside the misogyny but we're talking football here) in that I buy into the tradition, but I think I finally see what everyone's been going on about.  The term has been perverted to become some sort of justification for nepotism.  Fuck that.  I'll have to admit I bought into the BS, which is why I was so utterly confused about it, but I'm admitting now I was wrong.


September 29th, 2014 at 4:44 PM ^

Summarily dismiss Brandon and Hoke.  The sooner it is done, the better.  There is a horrible blot on my school that will never be gone until they are gone.


September 29th, 2014 at 7:00 PM ^

I don't think this situation is as black and white as many do with regard to Coach Hoke.  I admittedly want him gone mostly because of the losing.  I know that sounds bad. 

The problem with Coach Hoke's take on the above is that it paints the pictures of a comedy of errors.  Morris is hit in the head, and everyone has to know this fairly quickly because the refs threw a flag for it.  Then Morris is stumbling around and - best case - the coaches don't see that despite Braden propping him up and Hill and Hayes gesturing.  Then - for reasons I'm still not 100% sure of - the coaches do pull Morris a play later.  Then, when DG loses his helmet, they seemingly put Morris back in because Bellomy can't find his helmet and because Coach Hoke doesn't know the timeout rule. 

Coach Hoke describes the play in which Morris went back into the game as if he were a passive participant.  Who is keeping track of which QB plays?  Why not call a timeout to let Bellomy find his helmet even in a world in which you can't put DG right back in?  Would Nick Saban have a seizure if his QB couldn't find his helmet?


September 29th, 2014 at 4:54 PM ^

It's amazing how bad you get at answering questions clearly when you spend your whole career answering them with non-answers.  Responding to constant pestering about Morgan's arm injury with stonewalling is fine.  Responding to a concussion shitstorm with the same smokescreen and getting defensive about having to let down your guard for just one answer - not so fine.


September 29th, 2014 at 4:55 PM ^

This feels even worse than when the Lions went 0-16.  It just feels like the team has no life or spark to them.  We are getting killed in the Big play department,  getting killed in special teams and field position batle.  Something is just not right with this team to fail in such epic fashion.

I said something at the game Saturday how I could remember when the 3rd Quarter I could almost always count some positive momentum coming out of the it is the complete opposite.  I certainly think it is more on the coaches than the kids. 

As much as I want to see some heads roll and changes made I wonder what is best for the kids.  It's not fair to put them thru any of this. 

There just seems to me there are some still deep issues with the team we are unaware of.


September 29th, 2014 at 4:56 PM ^

Where the hell is Brandon? He was front and center in the "stretch-gate" fiasco - and he wasn't even the AD yet! Now, with what quite possibly could be an even larger blemish to the university, he is missing in action.
Brady is all but "dead man walking" and Brandon's absence confirms it. What a horrible boss!

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September 29th, 2014 at 5:11 PM ^

despite all the concussion stuff, etc. I really hate how Brady says the kid all the time.  Just seems to add to his apparent cluelessness even though he's clearly talking about Shane. Say Shane - it's not that hard.


September 29th, 2014 at 5:11 PM ^

You are now WORSE than John L.

If you have any respect or care about the well-being of this program you profess to love so much, please just resign so it can start to heal--just as Shane's wrecked cranium will have to.


September 29th, 2014 at 5:19 PM ^

that's the best Brady and the program could do with 2 days to prep?  My bar for Hoke in situations like this was pretty low, but this falls well below anything I could imagine. Embarrassing.  Way to help him Dave.


September 29th, 2014 at 5:36 PM ^

"So, Brady, you haven’t had any conversations with Dave Brandon, or have you, about this or about job performance in general?"


So Brady released a statement to the press last night without consulting his boss? Sounds like grounds for Brandon to fire him. /s


September 29th, 2014 at 5:36 PM ^

Assuming that the medical report backs up Brady Hoke, I am relieved to read that Shane Morris did not sustain a concussion on Saturday.  The decision to leave him in past the third quarter was still idiotic, but at least he wasn't in danger of serious brain injury.

That may have been more good luck than good judgment, but it should be welcome news to fans of the Maize and Blue.