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Brady Hoke on the Defensive in Press Conference on Handing of Shane Morris

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Brady Hoke

Brady Hoke

At a combative press conference won’t be enough for Michigan coach Brady Hoke to explain the handing of injured quarterback Shane Morris.

Morris was lifted from the game due to a high ankle sprain and did not sustain a concussion to Hoke’s knowledge, Hoke told the media in a Monday morning press conference. The quarterback would have practiced Sunday if not for the ankle injury, Hoke said.

Hoke said he’d never put a player on the field if there was a risk he sustained a head injury, but assessing that risk is ultimately in the hands of the Michigan medical staff.

"I don't make decisions who plays, who doesn't play, as far as when there's injuries, in particular, if there were any head or head trauma," Hoke told the media. "Those of you who know or don't know, I would never put a kid in that situation. Never have and never will because you get into this to coach kids.”

In a contentious press conference Monday, Hoke fielded questions surrounding his handling of Morris, who sustained a helmet-to-helmet hit against Minnesota and continued for two more non-consecutive plays. 

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Morris needed help from a lineman to stand after taking a hit from Minnesota’s Theiren Cockran — a stumble Hoke says was brought about by an ankle injury. Morris stayed in for one more play but returned later in the series when Devin Gardner lost his helmet during a play.

The explanations Hoke gave, though, remain dubious.

Hoke says he “assumed” Michigan medical personnel performed the required tests for concussions, though those tests were not administered until after Morris stayed in the game long enough to throw an incomplete pass.

Hoke said he did not see the hit on Morris as the coach was following the ball downfield and attributed Morris’ stumble to his ankle giving out. Given the nature of the hit — the back of Morris’ head also hit the ground — Morris’ motions were consistent with those of a player who had suffered a concussion. Hoke said he did not see the quarterback struggling in real time and ultimately not until he viewed the coaches’ game film.

Hoke also repeatedly referred to a forthcoming statement from the Michigan medical staff, a statement that had not arrived as of four hours since the press conference. Hoke referred to the statement when asked if Morris received a concussion test on the sideline and why Morris still had his helmet after leaving the game for the first time.

Hoke also said he had not communicated with athletic director Dave Brandon since Saturday, though the school released a statement from Hoke on Sunday evening.