Brady Hoke and Dave Brandon have to be fired and they need to be fired immediately. To let these two continue to represent Michigan football and the university as a whole is a colossal embarrassment to a great program and school. The fact that these two have kept their jobs as long as they did after what occurred Saturday is downright disgusting. Let’s take a quick look at the timeline of the events (all times Eastern):
Saturday: Shane Morris, already playing on a badly-injured ankle takes a vicious shot to the head and shows concussion-like symptoms. Morris stays in the game for another play, then comes out, only to re-enter when Devin Gardner’s helmet came off during a play and had to sit out the following play.
Sunday: Morris is diagnosed with a “probable, mild” concussion. This information would not be released until Brandon does so in his statement.
Monday, 12:30 P.M.: During his press conference, Hoke apparently doesn’t know Morris had a concussion and says that Morris would have practiced on Sunday if not for his ankle injury. Hoke had said that when Morris was leaning on offensive lineman Ben Braden to remain upright, it was because his ankle had given out.
Tuesday, 1 A.M.: Dave Brandon finally releases a statement saying there was a lack of communication between coaches and trainers. He admits Morris was diagnosed with a concussion and Morris should not have come back in the game.
Tuesday, 7 P.M.: A “Fire Brandon” rally is held on the Michigan campus. By this point, a petition has been going around demanding Brandon’s dismissal.
Wednesday, 1:30 A.M.: The petition hits 10,000 signatures.
So, what I would like to know is, even if Hoke didn’t think that Morris had a concussion on Saturday, why was Morris kept in the game after “his ankle gave out?” Why, when Gardner had to come out for a play, didn’t Hoke call a timeout so Gardner could stay in? Why, since third-string quarterback Russell Bellomy couldn’t find his helmet to go in for that play, didn’t Hoke send in a different QB, or Will Hagerup, or just run another one of his patented 10-man plays, and just snap the ball directly to the running back? Why didn’t anyone tell Hoke about Morris’ concussion before Hoke held his press conference Monday and said Morris would have practiced Sunday were it not for his ankle? Why did twelve hours go by between Hoke’s press conference and Brandon’s statement? And, why did Brandon feel the need to wait until 1 A.M. to release his statement?
Since the start of last season, Michigan is 9-9. We know Hoke is a lousy coach, and his lack of success would almost certainly get him fired at the end of this season. But his lack of awareness and concern for the well-being of his players needs to get him fired now. And it’s not like this is the first time he’s done something like this. Last year against Ohio, he told Devin Garnder he didn’t want to see him limp even though Garnder was playing on a broken foot. In 2004, at Ball State, Hoke was sent a letter of reprimand after players got frostbite during a disciplinary workout.
This goes beyond winning and losing. To anyone asking if everyone would be having the same reaction if the team was winning, the answer is 100% yes. As bad as it is that Hoke kept a concussed player in the game, he made it far worse by not taking even an ounce of responsibility. That is why he should be fired. If, on Saturday night, Hoke had just owned up to his mistake and said something along the lines of “It has come to my attention that Shane was showing concussion-like symptoms during the game. I did not notice this and I should have. I screwed up and I apologize to Shane for my mistake.” I feel like this becomes another item on the list of reasons why Hoke gets fired in January. Instead, he kept trying to convince us that our eyes were mistaken, and 54 hours would pass before Brandon finally admitted that Morris was concussed.
The players deserve better. The fans deserve better. The University of Michigan deserves better. Time for someone to finally do the right thing in all of this.
Fire Hoke. Fire Brandon.
Follow me on Twitter @KSchroeder2325.