“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.
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-
…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.”