Hoke Defends Morris Substitution

Brady Hoke defended his reason behind putting Shane Morris back in game after sustaining an apparent injury.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – If Shane Morris had sustained a head injury in Michigan’s loss to Minnesota, Brady Hoke says he didn’t see it.

He further added they are waiting on results from the Michigan medical staff before labeling the apparent head injury as a concussion or not after Morris took a late hit in the fourth quarter versus Minnesota.

Hoke is under fire for putting back in an apparent injured Morris, when backup Devin Gardner lost his helmet and due to rules he had to sit out the next play. Morris grabbed his helmet and went in and handed the ball off, despite coming out of the game already due to injury.

“I knew the kid had an ankle [injury],” Hoke said. “That’s what I knew.”

So Morris entered the game for one more play – a run play – and does everything a quarterback is supposed to do, Hoke said.

“When he comes back in, he hands the ball off,” Hoke said. “Checks the play, checks it the right way, does everything he was supposed to do.”

However, Hoke said Morris at the time had yet to be diagnosed with any head injury symptoms. And when asked today, he still hasn’t been diagnosed with a concussion.

“Everything that I know of, no,” Hoke said.

Morris first suffered an ankle injury early in the third quarter, and was seen limping around the field. However, Hoke was quick defend his reasons why Morris stayed in the game.

“Because he felt like he could still play,” Hoke said of Morris. “When the injury happened, I’m not going to get into all this. I’ll let our medical people talk about it. But when the injury happened the first time, he came back and could play on it.

“The guy is a competitor, he feels he can play on it.”

When the head injury occurred, Morris was seen leaning on teammate Ben Braden for support. Although, Hoke didn’t see the actual hit that caused the injury.

“His ankle gave out, that’s what he told me,” Hoke said. “Did I see that? Yeah, I saw Ben Braden there. But I didn’t see the hit either. Because I was traveling the ball down the field.”

As far as team welfare, Hoke was adamant about players reporting injuries when they occur during games.

“I do know one thing, when a guys is out of the game, they tell me -- and they have consistently for the last three years when a guy has been ruled out,” Hoke said.

And if his interest in the “well being” of his players was paramount?

“That’s why you coach,” Hoke said. “That’s why I got into coaching – to help kids. Well, helping kids is also their welfare, and there health. We would never, ever if we thought a guy had a concussion keep him in the game.

“And never have.”

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