Michigan Coach Brady Hoke’s job security, which was tenuous at the season’s start after the Wolverines went a combined 15-11 in 2012 and 2013, is now more or less non-existent after the events of Saturday’s 30-14 home loss to Minnesota, which beat the Wolverines for just the third time since 1978.
In the second half Saturday, Michigan quarterback Shane Morris seemed to suffer multiple injuries — including a head injury — yet remained in the game for a bit.
Morris, who appeared to have injured his ankle in the second half of Saturday’s game, was left in the contest after a violent hit near his head sent him to the turf.The then stood up, still limping, appearing wobbly and woozy. He then appeared to stumble into the arms of teammate Ben Braden before staying in the game for another snap.Morris was removed one play later, but then re-entered the game two plays later when Devin Gardner was forced — by rule — to the sidelines after losing his helmet during a play.
The outcry was swift. Drew Hallett of Maize N Brew (the Wolverines’ SBNation blog), for instance, wrote a post headlined “The fireable offense of Brady Hoke.” Brian Cook of MGoBlog.com wrote, “Bluntly, anyone arguing that we shouldn’t jump down Hoke’s throat because of the slight possibility Morris was not concussed is an idiot.” George Schroeder of USA Today was blunt: “It’s time for Hoke to go.”
Hoke was moved to issue a statement to reporters on Sunday night:
The safety of our student-athletes is always our top priority. We generally never discuss the specifics of a student-athlete’s medical care, but Shane Morris was removed from yesterday’s game against Minnesota after further aggravating an injury to his leg that he sustained earlier in the contest. He was evaluated by our experienced athletic trainers and team physicians, and we’re confident proper medical decisions were made. The University of Michigan has a distinguished group of Certified Athletic Trainers and team physicians who are responsible for determining whether or not a player is physically able to play. Our coaches have no influence or authority to make determinations if or when an injured player returns to competition. The health and welfare of our student-athletes is and will continue to be a top priority.
If all that isn’t enough to cut bait on Hoke — who has two years remaining on his contract and would be owed a $2 million buyout should he be fired — this might be (and remember, they were briefly giving away tickets for the price of two Cokes before the game):
Never seen the place this empty in my life! "@chengelis: Michigan Stadium almost 5 before kickoff pic.twitter.com/wtRBmX6aBg"— Chris Jones (@Cjonesgoblue) September 28, 2014
Michigan’s next game is Saturday night at Rutgers. The Wolverines are three-point underdogs. I repeat: they are playing Rutgers.