Michigan coach Brady Hoke is taking heavy criticism for letting quarterback Shane Morris play after he took a violent hit to the head late in his team’s 30-14 loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
Morris, who also injured his leg a few plays earlier, was visibly woozy after taking a hit with 11 minutes left. He needed help standing up (full video below):
Shockingly, he was allowed to stay in for one more play before he hobbled off the field. ESPN’s Ed Cunningham called the decision “appalling”:
“I got to tell you right now that No. 7 is still in this game is appalling. It is appalling that he was left in on that play to throw the ball again as badly as he was hit by [Minnesota]. To have No. 7 in the game on a gimpy leg after a hit like that, that is terrible looking after a young player.”
It only got worse from there.
Two plays later, the quarterback who replaced Morris had to come out of the game for one play because his helmet fell off. Instead of putting in the third-string QB, Hoke went back to Morris. That’s when ESPN’s Cunningham really went off:
“Shane Morris cannot be going back into this game. This young man looked groggy after that hit. He’s being put back on the field. I — he can barely stand up. This is not good player management. We’ve talked about player safety in this game, guys being hit in the head. This is atrocious to me … To see No. 7 back in the game after what looked like a concussive hit, this is not good player management, player safety by Michigan.”
Morris was later carted off.
After the game, Hoke said he didn’t know if Morris got a concussion and that he didn’t see that he was wobbly. He told MLive.com that Morris is tough and if he was concussed he wouldn’t have wanted to go back in the game:
“I don’t know if he had a concussion or not, I don’t know that. Shane’s a pretty competitive, tough kid. And Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so, believe me, if he didn’t want to be he would have come to the sideline or stayed down.”
Hoke is already on the hot seat for his team’s dismal results. But leaving Morris in the game and dismissing any concussion worries is more serious than results.
SB Nation’s Michigan blog called it a “fireable offence”:
“Hoke should be fired tomorrow. This is no longer about wins and losses. This is about a coach who is completely clueless on the sidelines to the point where he is putting his players at serious risk of injury. You saw what Hoke just did. Why would any parent in America want to send his or her son to Ann Arbor to play for Hoke after seeing what he just put Morris through? I certainly would not. And, if I was Morris’ father, I would be absolutely appalled and irate at Hoke for his (in)action.”
UCLA beat writer Ryan Kartje, who went to Michigan, was outraged:
Others from around the college football world are calling for his head:
I mean, fire Brady Hoke right now
— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) September 27, 2014
Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports wrote after the game, “Hoke’s days are numbered. It’s fait accompli. Saturday may have been the final straw — and not just because Michigan lost.”
Here’s the full video (the hit comes at 2:15):
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