Say what you want about Dave Brandon (and everyone is saying what they want), but we know firsthand that he knows how to deal with a media crisis/circus. His handling of the Rich Rod practicegate scandal was masterful. I dubbed him ‘Super Dave’ and he deserved it. What’s striking to me here is the complete lack of savvy in the handling of this issue. Someone joked to me it is as if Hoke is being set-up. As preposterous as that is, it would at least explain what is happening. This doesn’t feel anything like a Dave Brandon Production.
The strategy since last night (and the basic Hoke talk track today) seems to be to separate Hoke from the medical diagnosis and decision to play or not play. Fine. But when asked today if the medical staff performed a concussion test, Hoke said, “I assume so.” Huh?
Now, perhaps Hoke was so focused on trying to sell the “I’m-a-coach-not-a-doctor” strategy that he fumbled that answer. But does anyone believe that Hoke doesn’t really know (by now) exactly what happened on the sideline with Morris? It was probably reviewed with half of the athletic department by now.
How it Should have Gone
Based on my credentials as an unpaid US Senate intern (/Barney Fife sniff) two decades ago, if I’m running the talk track it goes like this. After pointing out that student-athlete safety is of the highest priority, and that you have the full confidence in your medical staff:
1. Explain what the process is when a player comes out of a game for an injury.
2. Explain that you reviewed specifically what was done with Morris on Saturday with the staff. (This must have happened)
3. Point out what was done correctly with Morris’s examination, and candidly what, if anything, was missed.
4. If anything was missed, explain why it was missed and what the staff is doing about it to ensure it never happens again.
5. Explain the process to communicate to the coaching staff when an injured player can return to the field.
6. Point out what was done correctly with the communication process, and candidly what, if anything, was missed.
7. If anything was missed, explain what the coaching staff is doing to correct this communication process moving forward to ensure it never happens again.
8. Reiterate that U-M has the finest medical staff in the business.
9. Reiterate how seriously you take the safety of student athletes.
10. Take questions.
If you think this is too much detail and would expose Michigan to outside scrutiny and ridicule, I guess I’d ask: how’s the current talk track working out? What time does Nancy Grace land at DTW?
1. I don’t think Hoke is lying – this is just being handled so poorly.
2. There is no way Hoke knowingly would put a player in danger. He would never do it.
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