The Shane Morris Incident

Submitted by Brian on September 28th, 2014 at 2:38 PM

For posterity I've clipped the video of the helmet to helmet hit and Michigan's actions after, plus the decision to insert him into the game after Gardner's helmet popped off.

The booing you hear in the background is fans demanding that Morris be removed, as it was even more obvious Morris was not right if you were looking at him for those 20 seconds uninterrupted. The only guy in the stadium who didn't know was Hoke.

Bluntly, anyone arguing that we shouldn't jump down Hoke's throat because of the slight possibility Morris was not concussed is an idiot.



September 28th, 2014 at 10:15 PM ^

I totally agree. Hoke should have seen it, should have pulled him immediately and should never have even considered putting him back in the game. I'm not excusing Hoke. At all. I'm now thoroughly on the fire him bandwagon, for Christ's sake.

But we're talking about a player's brain, which is a touchy issue for me. So, my concern is how the fuck did the trainers not hold him out? The trainer has 100% power over who plays. Full stop. Hoke cannot overrule him. This policy exists for exactly this reason: if a coach has completely and utterly failed in his duty, there is someone there to stop him from putting the kids in harms way. Schmidt was that guy. He failed. And to me, his failure is more shocking and incomprehensible.

Blue Durham

September 28th, 2014 at 10:34 PM ^

Understood, and we're cool.

Although ambivalent to Rodriguez' firing, but opposed to Hoke's hiring, I don't think I am in favor of firing Hoke now (mid-season).

The resultant chaos would not only be detrimental to the team but to the individual players as well.

This is the hand we've been dealt, we've played a couple of draws; and it is what it is, we have little choice but to play it out. To do otherwise is to walk away and needlessly lose everything that has been put on the table.

It was a crappy situation that just got worse.


September 28th, 2014 at 3:45 PM ^

With the resources we have on the sideline not to mention the guys in the booth someone should have stepped in.  The HC has his set of eyes plus perhaps 20 other sets in which to utilize in ANY situation involving on-field play.   To not catch this just seems far fetched.  They're all to blame, especially w/ the traumatic head injury education we've all had lately involving football players.  I still can't comprehend how this was 'missed' by everyone. I am ashamed for the first time after a game, now I've been embarassed before, but this one is different than losing or giving up 500 yards on defense.   Maybe a HEADSET would of come in handy at this particular moment.


September 28th, 2014 at 3:54 PM ^

This. This is something I'm struggling with myself. While I've been telling myself that, although I do believe Hoke should be held accountable, what I can say is that he wouldn't PURPOSELY keep Shane on the field, the more it rattles around in my head, the less sense that idea makes.

If it's true that the OC was telling Morris to stay down, then obviously he must have relayed that info to Hoke, no? If the OC saw it then some others MUST have seen it also and one of them would have relayed that to Hoke, again, no?? And this is what just isn't adding up the more I think on it.

HOW EXACTLY would Hoke NOT know if the OC knew? HOW EXACTLY would no one seeing it in replay or on the jumbotron or even that receiver that Shane used to prop himself up NOT have at least gotten Hoke's attention and, if nothing else, simply motioned toward Shane like 'hey, are you seeing this?'

The more I'm thinking on it, the more I think about exactly what I saw so obviously apparent - that Morris needed to at least take a second to regroup - the more I'm kind of coming to the realization that there is simply NO WAY Hoke wouldn't have any idea of Shane's condition at the time that this occurred.


September 28th, 2014 at 4:06 PM ^

Maybe a HEADSET would of come in handy at this particular moment.

How would it come in handy, did people on the other side of those headsets have the necessary information? If they did, why didn't they pass the information on to those that did have headsets, like Mattison and Nussmeier? If they did receive the information, why do you suppose they refused to pass the information on to Brady Hoke?


September 28th, 2014 at 10:50 PM ^

The guys in the booth have access to replay and aren't  surrounded by 85 players plus staff. I can't imagine that had he had a set on that there would have been at least one clear voice of concern that stood out above the sideline mayhem. I don't know that Mattison has his set on when the D is off the field and I'm still not sure why Nuss did nothing. I'm not now nor have I ever been a guy that cared whether he wears a set or not, I'm simply saying that in this instance it would have more than likely been advantageous.  If you read the rest you'd realize I said everyone is to blame. It's just another resource that should have been on top of things no matter who had a set on or not. Especially when they subbed him back in for Gardner, someone in your ear that has a better perspective on previous plays could have stopped that from happening.   Maybe could have stopped that from happening anyway. 


September 28th, 2014 at 3:44 PM ^

It's sad to think that this might NOT be the thing that gets Hoke fired immediately. Think about this from the perspective of any other job; would YOU be fired for such gross negligence even if you "didn't mean to do it"? Of course you would. It'll be sickening if a press conference isn't announced tomorrow and we're told that Hoke is no longer coach, but somehow I don't think that will actually happen.


September 28th, 2014 at 3:46 PM ^

It's a matter of negligence, not intent I'm sure. But how in the world can Michigan stand for a negligent coach when it comes to player safety?

The whole thing is a shambles, yet no action on the part of the administration seems to be forthcoming. And that's even worse negligence than what happened yesterday.



September 28th, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

As a player your advocates as it pertains to your health and wee-being are the coaches and training staff. An entire coaching staff and training staff failed Shane Morris.

It's indefensible. Period.


September 28th, 2014 at 3:49 PM ^

"Bluntly, anyone arguing that we shouldn't jump down Hoke's throat because of the slight possibility Morris was not concussed is an idiot."

And yet we still have a few people willingly lining up to do just that.


September 28th, 2014 at 4:27 PM ^

I really like Brian's take on most things, but I think the argument being put forth is that Hoke might not have been immediately aware of the severity of Morris's injury and, frankly, made a bad decision but probably without any malice or bad intent.  It's easy for people to sit on the sidelines and question a guy when they've got some bile in them, but in real-time it was a weird situation that probably get borked more times than we know but most fans (a) don't hear about it, and (b) don't have it become a page-leading story.  I'm not defending the guy, but this situation wasn't nearly as black-and-white and the mob here on the internet wants it to be.


September 28th, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

It was apparent immediately after the hit that Morris should've come out of the game to be checked for a concussion. Had he popped right back up it would, possibly, be a different story. He did not. The only "weird" part of this situation is everything the staff did wrong from the moment of the hit, until Morris was finally taken out for good. Hoke's own words after the game damn him. Virtually nobody is saying that there was malice in what happened, just ignorance and incompetence. Which is in no way better.


September 28th, 2014 at 6:57 PM ^

I agree.  I don't want a jerk or an idiot running this team.

Morris shouldn't have been out there because he clearly had a bad ankle; I'm surprised people weren't more pissed about that.  When Morris got up, he looked like he could barely stand because (my guess) is that his ankle was killing him and he had just been lit up and may have had a concussion; at best, he was in no shape to take any more snaps that day.  But Morris was taken out one play later; they obviously noticed something was wrong and got him out of there.  

Having him go back in to take a snap was idiotic and is rightfully villified, though I'm surprised a medical staffer hadn't come over and started checking Morris for injuries, or maytbe someone did and deemed him healthy enough to keep playing, which is insane to me.  


September 28th, 2014 at 5:27 PM ^

My hunch is that this is the case, that because of where he was standing he didn't see the hit in real time, and thought that any wobbliness on Shane's part was due to his leg boo-boo.

While I think that relying on headset-wearing staff to verbally relay information to a head coach is just asking for trouble in the heat of the battle, given the less-than-direct nature of the communication, I've never given a shit that Hoke doesn't wear a headset throughout the game per se. It didn't seem to be a problem in 2011. It's the way he wants to do things.

However, since he chooses not to, it's incumbent on him to set up a communication system that ensures he gets critical information relayed to him as quickly as possible. It stretches belief to suppose that the staff up in the booth didn't see the hit on Morris, but if they didn't, they're not paying attention. If they did see the hit and the immediate aftermath but didn't relay the info down to the sideline, it's a big problem. If they did relay the information down to the sideline but it didn't get to Hoke or Nuss, it's a problem. If the info did get to Nuss but he didn't inform Hoke, it's a problem. If he did inform Hoke but Hoke did nothing, it's a real big problem.

Regardless, in-game communication is ultimately Hoke's responsibility, however he does it. The fact that it might have been a clusterfuck of bad decisions doesn't absolve him of responsibility. I'm not convinced this one incident is a fireable offense, assuming that there's no evidence that Hoke consciously took a reckless chance with Shane's health.

However, taken in the context of the overall management of the program in game situations, it's part of a discouraging picture of a staff that doesn't seem to have a handle on things, from S&C to strategic planning to in-game management and everything else in between.


September 28th, 2014 at 7:01 PM ^

This I absolutely agree with.  I suspect the information was delayed getting to Hoke; from his vantage point it probably just looked like Morris was favoring his ankle and getting up from the hit.  Personally, I had no idea why he was still out there at that point; Morris could barely move on that leg, and at that point in the game he was not remotely the best option at QB.  That's Hoke being an idiot.  

The fact Morris was taken out on the next play makes me believe the delay in communication/coaches recognizing what happened is in play.  I agree that lack of communication is on Hoke, and that lack of order and control, more than anything, is why he needs to go.  This team might run through brick walls for him, but I'm not sure Hoke has any idea which walls he needs them to go through.


September 28th, 2014 at 3:59 PM ^

Hoke ceased to be likable when he stopped winning. Groupthink went from "trust the coaches. Look at those results" to sensible laypeople noticing glaring deficiencies in preparation and strategy. When winning, playing injured is heroic, but when losing ethical questions arise. I think I share the opinion of many on this board in thinking that RR was likable, if a bit too fiery and deflecting (regarding blame, that is). I (we) wanted RR to succeed. Even after early failures, RR seemed fine until it was determined (PSU) that he simply couldn't win. Hoke is now at the stage of "cannot win" and has also made pains to make himself unlikable. I'm going to trumpet the Morris Incident in step with all of you, but behind it the real impetus (60% of it, perhaps) will be (1) loses and (2) unlikable rather than his treatment of Morris. Personally, I want any new HC to be newfangled and adaptive, someone who gets off on stats and wins games rather than someone who thumps tradition but fails to realize that the tradition being thumped is a period of only twenty years or so and that what's really important (the winged helmets, the banner) doesn't change and what isn't (schemes) does.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


September 28th, 2014 at 4:16 PM ^

Lack of development and discipline are definitely factors, I agree. However, to say that scheme is not a factor is simply incorrect. Start with the most obvious example: More recently, we have stuff like tackle over and 12(?) OL blocking schemes under Borges. Even more recently, we have the refusal to convert to the spread punt. I was only using scheme as an example. I wasn't trying to imply that it is wholly responsible. 






September 28th, 2014 at 4:01 PM ^

At least RR's NCAA sanctions were eventually shown to be the nothing that most everyone thought they were.

This national embarassment there isn't much of anything explaining away here. 


I Bleed Maize N Blue

September 28th, 2014 at 5:49 PM ^

Looked like a helmet-to-chin hit to me, and WTF?! there was a ref looking right at the guy launching himself like a missile and hitting with his helmet, and he didn't eject him.

Impossible to tell without a wider view, but since it happened on the opposite side of the field, is it possible Hoke was screened and really didn't see that hit?

I feel that Nuss should have called a timeout, as he saw Morris wobble, then refuse to go down for injury (showing toughness, like Hoke wants, but in the wrong situation).  And Hoke should have paid attention to his QB at some point and seen how badly he was limping, if not being held up by his lineman. Certainly, Hoke should have called a timeout when Gardner's helmet came off, rather than let Morris go back in. If you're still huddling up, WTF is a timeout going to do, anyway?


September 28th, 2014 at 4:17 PM ^

This cake is baked.
We have Mark Schlissel who is a pure academic with little or no interest in athletics.  He earns a lot less compensation than the football coaches.  Schlissel doesn't care to supervene and dilute his administrative and academic time by finding a new director of athletics let alone football staff.  In his mind, the athletic director is far better qualified to manage the disinteresting side of the University and Brandon hasn't commited any fireable acts yet.
Brandon is toxic in the world of college sports and no top tier football coach wants to operate subordinate to Brandon's dominion and control.  We are not going to witness the hiring of a Harbaugh - take your pick between the two Harbaughs - caliber coach while Brandon remains.  And Brandon isn't going anywhere because Schlissel doesn't want to deal with finding a replacement.  In some ways, having a dysfunctional, thus weakened, athletic department can benefit Schlissel's position and mission as he perceives these.
Hoke isn't going to be fired this season because no suitable replacement exists.  No coach with gravitas is willing to be owned by Brandon.  Lesser coaches would jump at the opportunity, however, most candidates are Hoke-lite insofar as they are too weakly positioned and Brandon would invariably mould them into Hoke v2.0 and, worse, they know jack squat about placating the Michigan fanbase, alums and key donors.  Brandon will keep his man, Brady Hoke, around through 2014 no matter what.
Shane Morris or not, we all saw how Hoke left Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner in games repeatedly after it was clear to those watching the quarterbacks should have been kept out because they had been pounded to a bloody pulp - Robinson with nerve damage and Gardner with bells rung/concussive effects.
The guillotine ain't falling.  They'll let us eat cake.


September 28th, 2014 at 8:07 PM ^

The University must either fire Hoke outright or defend him. They have to come down on one side of the issue or the other. My gut tells me they will make some minimal attempt at investigating the incident, find that no harm was intended nor rule broken, give Hoke a pat on the head, and trot him back out there until the end of the season.


September 28th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

My letter to President Schlissel (FWIW):

President Schlissel,

While I am disappointed in the win-loss record, I am not advocating for Hoke's immediate dismissal on these grounds. Rather, I am angered that he would risk Shane Morris's health by allowing him to remain in the game after suffering a possible concussion and clearly having an issue with his left leg or ankle.

Potentially mishandling an injury let alone a concussion is a volatile issue to which I'd rather not have our university exposed. Please take a stand and privately discuss with Mr. David Brandon that this gross negligence cannot be allowed to continue.

I love our university and am proud to be an alumnus. Please do the right thing and immediately relieve Mr. Hoke of his coaching duties. I implore you to take an interest in this because this is not just a sports issue but also potentially a legal issue and moral issue that could have larger negative ramifications.

Welcome to the university and I look forward to seeing your leadership of our fine educational institution.

Julius 1977

September 28th, 2014 at 4:25 PM ^

anyone arguing that we shouldn't jump down Hoke's throat because of the slight possibility Morris was not concussed is an idiot.

So, let me get this straight.  This author is, in advance, voicing a personal attack on anyone disagreeing with him.

I thought personal attacks were against the board rules.  I mean, I have always followed what I thought were the rules. 

There have been times I have read stuff written by this author that, to me, was so unimaginably ludicrous that I could not believe a sober person could have written it.  There are times I read his stuff, I read it again, and then I give up since I cannot, for the life of me, understand what he is saying.

Do I point any of this out in the comments?  No.  This is his board and I'm just a guest here.  Besides, doing so - bluntly - would amount to a personal attack.  And I don't do that - rules or no rules.

I do not believe for one second that the coach endangered any of his players.  People saying so are just ranting because they hate the losing (which I also hate).  So, I am an idiot.  I come to this board, I read some brilliant stuff by Bisb, I read a bunch of so-so stuff by all the rest.  Sometimes I skim the comments to learn a little about football from the Space Coyote.  I am an idiot.

So be it.


September 28th, 2014 at 4:44 PM ^

As I previously stated, I think the staff should get a pass through next year as Nuss and Mattison are excellent coaches; although I am a bit confounded why quality redshirt sophomores cannot seem to keep a game competitive.

What I am troubled by is that Morris was kept in the game even-though injured and beaten up and most troubled by placing him back in the game after the hit. Further, what I saw was that Bellamy never could find his helmet (not that he was ready to enter the game with helmet on). Why didn't the staff have Bellamy ready to go?

So, you are not an idiot. Those who wish to quell free speech is one.

Sadly, if the tide does not turn and Hoke loses the locker room, he will not get another year.

Regardless, Go Blue. I will always support the University.


September 28th, 2014 at 5:18 PM ^

What may I ask do you see on the field, with knowledge of how bad we are compared to the some of the worst teams in CFB, who have much less talent and resources, that warrants keeping joke for another year? What excuses him to field a team littered with 4/5 star talent that is so epically bad??


September 28th, 2014 at 5:22 PM ^

What may I ask do you see on the field, with knowledge of how bad we are compared to the some of the worst teams in CFB, who have much less talent and resources, that warrants keeping joke for another year? What excuses him to field a team littered with 4/5 star talent that is so epically bad??


September 28th, 2014 at 4:28 PM ^

I agree with everyone else's disdain for Brady Hoke putting Shane Morris back into action after Devin Gardner lost his helmet during the play. With regard to NCAA regulations, the NCAA does support any responsibility for coaches to protect student athletes from traumatic brain injury such as concussions.  They merely say that each university must have a concussion policy.  See this link:

As far as the University of Michigan Medical Center, here is their Neurosport Protocol:…

which mainly discusses the steps of how an athlete returns to action in practice.

As a physician, one is sometimes left in frustration, when a coach's desire to win supercedes his duty to protect the athlete's well-being.  Hoke's feeling that injured players are just soft walks a dangerous line between winning at all costs and negligence.  

I don't look for any help from the NCAA in this matter, even though one should think there should be.  Perhaps President Schlissel, who is a physician, might be more interested in intervening.  Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke both report to the President of the University.  Time will tell whether Shane Morris will get medical evaluation for a possible concussion through the trainers and medical staff.  I don't expect Brady Hoke to say anything about injuries given his recent behavior.   



September 28th, 2014 at 7:48 PM ^

My guess (and it's just a guess) is that Nuss doesn't believe Gardner has it in him to pass the ball as needed, so Nuss is pushing for Morris to play and play now.

Perhaps Hoke isn't of that opinion but gave into Nuss with Gardner struggling.  Perhaps that's why he didn't go to Gardner early in the third when it was obvious Shane wasn't going to win the game.  

And, perhaps that's the source of the rumored (emphasis on rumored) riff between Nuss and Hoke after the game.

This is all a guess and wild spectulation, I admit.  However, it's the best answer I have for while the better quarterback was sitting on the bench in a game Hoke HAD to win until Morris got so hurt they had no choice.


September 28th, 2014 at 7:49 PM ^

Was Hoke forced to play Morris or be fired for playing Gardner. Did Hoke believe Morris wasnt ready but was forced to play him. In retaliation, Hoke refused to take out Morris even with the physical beating he was taking. Did Hoke give the old FU to whomever forces him to play Morris. I smell Brandon.

Year of Revenge II

September 29th, 2014 at 1:29 AM ^

Skipped the logic course in high school, eh?

That is not what the writer said; moreover, it is not really the point of the present discussion.  

What Hoke intends cannot be rationally deduced, and he is not exactly candid either afterwards or before regarding much of anything.  The best guess is that he is simply not competent to handle to decision-making processes that are required by his job description.