Minnesota 30, Michigan 14

Submitted by Ace on September 27th, 2014 at 7:43 PM


Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

“We’re not going to talk about injuries and I might as well bring that out now. And some of that is because you can say something about something and then you’re wrong. Everybody heals a little differently, and the other thing is for our kids. I want to make sure we’re doing a good job protecting them.” — Brady Hoke, 9/17/14

Regardless of how you felt about the on-field performance, what Brady Hoke did in putting an almost certainly concussed Shane Morris back on the field was reprehensible and, if you believe the first job of a head coach is to protect his own players, worthy of a firing. The fact that Hoke let Morris stay on the field as long as he did in the first place—when Morris, at one point, waved at the sideline while needing a lineman's support to stand—was awful enough; to ask Morris to re-enter that game was beyond the pale.

A national television audience just saw every reason why they shouldn't send their football players to Michigan.

An ornery crowd filtered in slowly, with the "attendance" of 102,926 such an obvious farce much of the crowd booed when it was announced. Booing, in fact, was a theme on the day. It started early, when a couple inside running plays netted little. When Minnesota entered the tunnel with a 10-7 halftime lead, the boos rained down again.

By the time Morris lost a third-quarter fumble when he simply dropped the ball in the pocket—the press box announcer flatly stated "fumble not forced by anyone on Minnesota," afterward—the student section had moved on from boos to chants of "Fire Brandon." For the uninitiated, that would be in reference to Dave Brandon, Michigan's embattled athletic director.


Fuller

The first half proved competitive, at least, if not at all interesting. Michigan punted on their first three drives, Minnesota on their opening four; provided stellar field position by the defense, the Wolverine offense tallied their first red zone trip and touchdown against a Power 5 team this season on a nifty ten-yard scamper by De'Veon Smith. The Gophers answered just two minutes later, however, with a ten-yard scoring run of their own when quarterback Mitch Leidner ran untouched around the corner off an inside run fake.

Minnesota added greatly to the fan unrest when they marched 92 yards in 2:17 to end the half with a Ryan Santoso field goal. Then the floodgates opened in the third quarter. Minnesota forced Michigan to punt from deep in their own territory, allowing the Gophers to "drive" eight yards in seven plays for another Santoso field goal, putting them up 13-10. Two plays later, Theiran Cockran tipped a Morris pass to the flat, and it fluttered right to Gopher LB De'Vondre Campbell, who brought it back 30 yards for an easy touchdown.

After the Morris fumble on the very next drive, Leidner ended a five-play drive with a little flip-pass to Maxx Williams for a one-yard score. What had been a 10-7 game just 4:32 earlier morphed into an ugly 27-7 blowout. When Morris was finally pulled, Devin Gardner entered the game and immediately engineered a touchdown drive, capping it off with a three-yard run, defiantly standing as two defenders collided with him upon entering the end zone. During that drive, Gardner lost his helmet for a play, necessitating either a timeout be called or a backup enter. While Russell Bellomy also grabbed his helmet, Morris went in.

On what would ultimately be Michigan's last drive, another woeful three-and-out (their seventh of the game) from the shadow of their own end zone, Devin Funchess also went down injured, and left the field with a noticeable limp. When the game mercifully ended shortly after Michigan punted, still technically down just two scores on the scoreboard, Funchess and his teammates limped to the locker room; Morris left the field on the back of a cart.

"I didn't see that. I can only answer for me," said Hoke, when asked if he noticed Morris looking wobbly on his feet.

If that's the best you've got, Brady, it's best if you let someone else protect the players.

Comments

a2_electricboogaloo

September 27th, 2014 at 10:54 PM ^

He's talking about the Univeristy of Michigan President, Dr. Schlissel, not the President of the United State. As he, along with the Board of Regents, has the power to enact the changes necessary in the Athletic Department.

 

Also, for the most part, we're fine with fans from other schools posting here, as long as they're respectful and add to the discussion/conversation. In fact, most fans of other schools are pretty encouraged to post here, as long as they're good members (or at least not dicks). So you're welcome to post here, but if you bring up stuff "Michigan Arrogance" in a completely unprovoked way (and in a context which you were completely wrong about), then you're probably going to get banned really quickly.

ChicagoGangViolins

September 27th, 2014 at 10:27 PM ^

 

Even the reporting crew hesitate to defend them. Demise of a regime, a clean sweep and we try again. The grenade has landed on live TV.  Kaput.

 

Zund Lest Vee Habfzt Der Kuhl Helmuts, Wulverentz!

 

Mi Sooner

September 27th, 2014 at 7:50 PM ^

 

If that's the best you've got, Brady, it's best if you let someone else protect the players.

simply stated -- sadly true.  its time to send the Bobsey twins packing.

wolvo13

September 28th, 2014 at 1:00 AM ^

You're right, but if Hoke didn't see the hit or him all woozy, and then saw Shane wave it off and walk around, he probably assumed it was his leg and that if he was walking, he was fine. Even if Hoke had seen Shane fall over, if he didn't see the hit, the explanation could've been the leg. I can't imagine that if Hoke had known the gravity of the situation, he would've let Shane stay out there. The players seem to feel that he really does care about them. And let's think about his current position. His job is on the line. He's not going to make risky moves like that intentionally.  I think he should've been more aware, and maybe a fucking headset would've made a difference, but I truly believe he was completely unaware. Also remember that being in the stadium is completely different than watching the game on TV. Hits away from the play aren't replayed on the scoreboards. You see it happen when it happens or you completely miss it. There wasn't a penalty or mention of a penalty in the stadium like there was on TV either. 

Mitch Cumstein

September 27th, 2014 at 7:59 PM ^

I would lose a lot of respect for ace and this blog if Shane wasn't actually concussed. While Ace says in the article he was 'almost certainly' concussed (notice the wiggle room for future snaking efforts) was there any actual evidence that Morris had a concussion or any concussion symptoms other than raking a hit? It didn't look like anything but his ankle was getting attention after he was taken out.

I'm all for holding the coaches responsible for results on the field, but we're just a little too eager to say hoke is intentionally playing concussed players without any actual facts other than a color guy going bananas and then backtracking.

jballen4eva

September 27th, 2014 at 8:45 PM ^

Given the history of concussions at all levels of tackle football, the responsibility of Hoke to his players, and the evidence on the field and on television of Morris' condition, which condition was noticed by the announcers, I think it is fine to be critical of Hoke for not taking protective measures with respect to Morris.  

It's a stupid fucking game not worth dying or being permanently damaged over.  

GoBLUinTX

September 28th, 2014 at 3:04 AM ^

and had Ace said that, or something similar he would have been on solid ground.  But he didn't, and neither did the author at SB Nation when they said almost certainly concussed.  While it is quite possible that Morris was concussed, that is far different than saying almost certainly concussed.  

GoBLUinTX

September 28th, 2014 at 3:15 AM ^

is a work of fiction.  I can't imagine any doctor would presume to make such a diagnosis from the vantage point of their television.  So I'm quite dumbfounded that "Journalists" would do it for them.  Possibly concussed or appears to be concussed makes the point quite well without injecting false expertise.

Cope

September 27th, 2014 at 8:26 PM ^

Morris was already walking slowly when he lost the ability to walk, without wincing, just fell into another player. That is classic sign of a blackout which is a concussion.

Sure, it might've possibly been something else. But it is honestly almost certainly a concussion. That is exactly what I said when it happened, and it's more journalistic integrity than most journalists show these days.

Mon-L

September 27th, 2014 at 8:14 PM ^

What do you need to see before the guy gets pulled? A bone jutting out of his shin? Staggering around and vomitting?

Morris was limping for an entire series. Can barely stand. Then he gets absolutely blasted. Helmet drilled into his chin. And has to be helped up and supported by a teammate. Game over. Sit him down. Take his helmet.

This is just a game. No one needs to get CTE because Brady Hoke is asleep on the sidelines.

Willhouse

September 27th, 2014 at 11:06 PM ^

Get fucked dude. How could you possibly equate disproval of tempo to player safety?? Coach's JOB is to know or at least be privy to the extent of an injury before putting an injured player back on the field. If you are seriously defending the staff, you must be related to a coach or something. You can't possibly be that stupid or blind.

Mazzy

September 28th, 2014 at 6:25 AM ^

I was at the game, at that side of the field, and I missed the hit. However, I did see Morris fall into another player a few seconds later and he was not limping, nor was he surrounded by a bunch of other players that might block the view of the coaches at the sidelines. Did Hoke personally miss that "collapse"? Maybe. But every coach and assistant on the sidelines missing it? No way. It was too out in the open for that to be the case, and that's why he should have been pulled immediately.

GoBLUinTX

September 28th, 2014 at 3:29 AM ^

And Shane Morris quite possibly did suffer a concussion.  But let's allow the doctors to do doctoring and writers to do writing.  Shall we?  Morris did appear to be staggering, and he may have had a momentary blackout, but that's just speculation and it is unprofessional to attribute that to a definitive cause without first conducting an exam.

AnthonyThomas

September 28th, 2014 at 6:03 AM ^

So what is grounds for administering an exam on the sidelines? Is having to prop yourself up against another human being in order to stand not enough? Was it not blatantly obvious that it should have been done?

Ace's language in the column means jack shit. It isn't "irresponsible" because the moment Morris appeared wobbly, which there's no question that he was, the onus was on the coaching staff to test him for a concussion and they failed to do that. It ultimately doesn't matter whether he suffered a concussion. What matters is that he absolutely showed signs of having suffered a head injury, not to mention the leg injury that left him immobile and prone to taking harder hits, and none of it was addressed by the adults that are entrusted with the kid's health. So frankly it's bullshit that we should wait to judge culpability based on an after-the-fact assesment that dosen't change the truth which is that the coaches left Morris in harm's way when it was obvious to hundreds of thousands of people that he was no longer physically or mentally capable of protecting himself.

Someone should be responsible for allowing the kid to stay in the game and it's pretty goddamn obvious to 99% of us who that is.

And the press conference sure answered a lot of questions. I'm writing this 12 hours after the game and feel as strongly as I did then that Hoke should be gone by this time tomorrow.