Shane Morris A mildly concussed Shane Morris, after his final snap (and handoff)

Brandon’s statement this morning basically hits all of the points I outlined here in my unpaid intern Crisis Management 101 lesson.  It assesses what happened, admits faults, discusses plans to fix the problems and so on.

But—why was Hoke hung out to dry and not told this was all happening?  This isn’t just a “medical report”.  If Hoke was told this was all happening, at the Monday presser could have talked about his responsibility and perspective on Saturday, but then he could have added, ‘..but we’re reviewing everything that happened to understand what mistakes (if any) were made’ and that the ‘details will be coming soon’, etc. etc.

It looks like they didn’t tell him?  What?  From the statement:

As of Sunday, Shane was diagnosed with a probable, mild concussion, and a high ankle sprain. That probable concussion diagnosis was not at all clear on the field on Saturday or in the examination that was conducted post-game. Unfortunately, there was inadequate communication between our physicians and medical staff and Coach Hoke was not provided the updated diagnosis before making a public statement on Monday.

How is that possible?   Again, I don’t think Hoke is lying. 

I’m not suggesting Hoke is absolved of any ownership here – far from it.  While he shouldn’t be responsible for medical diagnoses, he is responsible for how the whole operation fits together on how the sideline communicates with each other, and in particular, to he and his staff.

His responsibility to Morris and the rest of the players as the leader of the football team is to demand that all these questions be asked about what happened on Saturday so it can’t happen again.  And after seeing the film he should have absolutely demanded that Morris be evaluated or certainly, if he assumed his medical staff was taking care of that, to know the results

He obviously didn’t do that, or he would have known that Morris was indeed diagnosed with the concussion on Sunday instead of telling reporters otherwise on Monday and making U-M and the football program look even more unprofessional and disorganized, and in this case, dangerous.

As Brandon’s statement points out this is more of a communication issue.  As of Monday it doesn’t look like Hoke took those steps to find out what happened, but bizarrely on top of that, but he didn’t even know that resources in the department were engaged investigating the breakdown on Saturday.  On tippy top of that, more importantly on a personal level, he didn’t know that his boss was apparently heavily involved!?  “I [Brandon] have had numerous meetings since Sunday morning to thoroughly review the situation that occurred at Saturday’s football game.”  

sideline hysteria Sideline as Gardner heads out after losing his helmet

And no one involved in these reviews told Brady that Brandon was talking to them and reviewing everything that happened Saturday?  And Brady didn’t contact his boss about the situation that was making headlines literally everywhere?  

Brandon’s not absolved either.  Hardly.  He knows damn well how to handle a crisis like this, or at least has the people around him to do it.  By not informing Brady of what was happening he allowed Hoke to embarrass himself, to potentially put Morris at more risk during practice, and more importantly, to make a mockery of this university on Sunday (with that ridiculous statement) and Monday at the press conference.

And Brandon didn’t tell Brady he was conducting all these reviews?   And Brandon didn’t include Brady in any of the reviews (isn’t the head coach part of the communication loop)?

Only reasonable conclusion – the boss is excluding Hoke because he’s lining him up to be fired for this.  Maybe not now or this week, but you don’t have an epic freeze out like this in the athletic department between the athletic director, the staff and the coach unless something is up.

I’m so pissed.

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I’m working on a couple hours sleep after the game and hopping the first flight out of dodge, but here are a few shots from that brutal game.   A huge thanks once again to MVictors photog Kelley Kuehne for getting it done on Saturday night.

As usual I encourage reuse and republication, I just ask you give credit and a link.  If you are looking for a higher resolution copy (Mrs. Lewan), send me an email.

Shane Morris warmup

Michigan cheerleader backflip

IMG_6430 - running out helmet

Greg Mattison

IMG_6494 Seniors

IMG_6593 77 warms up

THC!

Player

IMG_6707 g with b dubb

IMG_6796 paratrooper

IMG_6861 gallon unitimeline

Jeremy Gallon

Jon Falk final game

IMG_7049 early 7

Shane Morris snap

IMG_7270 butt upfield

Devin Gardner 98

IMG_7601 coaches

 IMG_7638 cloaking devicewhen KSU stole our cloaking device :(

Michigan defensive signs ?I have no idea

IMG_8395 shane stiff

 Shane Morris in huddle

 IMG_8466 Hayes 2 pt

 Devin Funchess

 Shane Morris and Devin Gardner

 Lewan with his Moms

Lewan and his moms after the game, grabbing her baby boy above, Lewan giving her his helmet below.  Here’s a montage.

Moms

 IMG_8596 gallon postgame

 Brady Hoke press conference

 

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1 Funchess Leap

As someone covering the history of this program I always love it when I see historic events unfold before us, and fortunately I get to see a lot of that following Michigan.  Saturday was an all-timer and yes, I’m one of those people who can enjoy an epic game even if we come out on the wrong side.  

While many of you who watched the twists (and the result) of the 2000 Northwestern game no doubt hurled a remote or two during the game, I was in Evanston that day and while I was frustrated at times, in the end I was fine knowing I witnessed one for the ages.  Damn I wish we had that two-point conversion back but I’m fine, even good.  Most of all now I’m actually a little excited to see the bowl game and I’m not sure I could say that before kickoff.  

To the questions on the collective mind:

> Should we have gone for 2?  I liked the call, and I have trouble finding fans who disagree.  I know you are out there, but it feels like most everyone liked the balls and more importantly, the call.  If anything we should have gone for two earlier in the game as the nerds will tell you.

> Like the play?   I think most fans did not like the call, I get that, and I didn’t watching it live upstairs.  That said, when I watched the replay I think if Devin throws it half a second earlier and a little more outside it might have been there.    All this said, I probably would have spread things out and gave Devin a few options.

More stuff:

History Notes > from mgoblue:

  • Gardner upped his season passing yards to 2,960 to move to second among Michigan’s all-time leaders in the category. He trails only record holder John Navarre (3,331, 2003).
  • Gallon has posted a reception in 38 straight games, tying Edwards (2001-04) for the Michigan program record. He owns 5+ catches in seven consecutive games.
  • Gallon moved to fourth among Michigan’s all-time career reception leaders with 164, passing Steve Breaston (156, 2003-06) and Anthony Carter (161, 1979-92).

NOT Shutout Streak > Thanks to Craig at HSR for following this little nugget, but with the first score against the Buckeyes on Saturday Michigan now holds the longest string of games without being shutout at 362, passing BYU’s 361 from 1975-2003

Mmmm Shoes  > Those shoes!  Uniform timeline updated

1 Block M shoes 

Mood >  The Mood is my simple/crude measure of how great it truly is at a given point in time to be a Michigan Wolverine.   For the first time after a loss, the Mood goes up this week:mood I understand that’s not how everyone feels and this could even imply the fanbase considers Saturday a moral victory, but there you go.

Photos Galore > Much more on these pages including more epic photos here and here and here.  
On Honoring Falk, Beckmann, and Madej > here.
Sap’s Decals > here.

 

Elsewhere:
mgoblogAce game recap
Maize and Blue NationDefeated but not BeatenPhotos including this one:

image

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For good reason we spend so much energy talking offense and defense, but you have to take a moment and acknowledge what happened with the special teams unit on Saturday.  Offhand that was most complete special teams performance I can recall and if not, definitely the most significant as it relates to the outcome of a game.   In the slippery & windy conditions, to cleanly execute all those kicks (save the long FG), punts, catches and coverage during the game was exceptional.  If Northwestern blew this game by not hanging onto the ball, the difference for Michigan was the play of special teams.

The coaches of have taken a beating since week 3 so give STC Ferrigno and Hoke major credit for the military-style discipline and execution by the special unit throughout the game…all the way to the wire:

Hoke called that one of the best single football plays he could remember.  While we’ve seen several ridiculous individual plays over years (and Hoke was there for the best–Woodson’s ‘97 pick at MSU), based on the number of variables that had to cleanly function and fall in place in those few frantic seconds it’s hard to argue with him.   You’ve heard now that Michigan practices that every week, & Gardner joked postgame that he appreciated that they finally got to use it after all the time spent working on it.   Credit Hoke for having those guys prepared and credit the 16+ players involved to make that happen.  Misc:

Poor Fitz – Man, it’s hard not to feel for Pat Fitzgerald, especially after I got to know that cat a little better via Fourth and Long.   This season has been a disaster for him and of course Michigan’s done a number on him a few years in a row now.   I don’t know how many times his team dropped the ball, but there had to be at last 5 bungled interceptions including a few that would have been certain pick 6s –and one absolute gimme in overtime that would have won the game.  On top of that, Funchess’ fumble in overtime looked to be sitting right there for Northwestern to end the game but somehow #87 got it back.  

Fitz, for a couple reasons you are hereby forgiven for the Fitzspaz dance last season:

Fitz

Mood:  Sure, it says something that beating a winless divisional opponent can boost our collective spirits but today, say it with me—–>  it’s better-than-a-kick-in-the-giblets…TO BE…A MICHIGAN WOLVERINE:

mood chart

Starbutts > I got some great comments on Twitter after I blasted out this pic of the Northwestern uniforms pregame:

Northwestern Uniforms 

Naturally much of the Twitter snark focused on the star-spangled posterior region.  Winner:

the Butts A gem served up by mgo-Ace:

Ace

And in another weird chapter of the strange synchronicity that to me, permeates Michigan football [the previous chapter was me, four days after the Michigan State snuff-out riding on a three hour flight back from Florida seated next to MSU DC Pat Narduzzi.  Really.] ..check out this tweet from mgo-Heiko:

heiko

That of course was a joke…dropped during last season’s NW game at the Big House…and it undeniably provided the spark that inspired the 2013 Wildcat butt flag pants. 

This guy is thinking ahead for when Michigan and NW meet on the hardwood:

1 Better USA uniform/reading text on his phone: DUDE! SOME DUDE JUST TWEETED OUT A PIC OF YOU IN YOUR SHIRT DUDE

The biggest disappointment of the trip was BTN’s J Lehman not rocking “the” tie on this stars-and-stripes-drenched day.   He was just about the only thing out there not in red, white and blue.

> Pregame Lore – Yes, it was pregame warm-ups but I’ll note it nonetheless.  Standing about 4 yards inside the south endzone goal line, backup P/K Kenny Allen punted a ball about 80 yards in the air & after a decent bounce it came to rest about 3 yards in the north endzone.  

> History notes from #1000SSS:

• With the win, U-M improved to 9-2 all-time in contests decided by overtime.

• Today’s triple-overtime matches the second-longest contest in program history. U-M also went to three overtimes against Michigan State on Oct. 30, 2004 (a 45-37 victory), and vs. Illinois on Nov. 6, 2010 (a 67-65 win). This season’s four-overtime game at Penn State on Oct. 12 is the longest game in school history.

• After hauling in 10 receptions for 115 yards, fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon became the 10th player in program history to post 1,000 receiving yards or more in a single season. He is the Wolverines’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Mario Manningham (1,174) accomplished the feat in 2007.

• With seven stops at Northwestern, junior linebacker Desmond Morgan has tallied four or more tackles in 25 straight regular season contests.

833 Fandom Endurance.  I feel like I deserve something.  Sap?  

I started my 4+ hour trek to watch two struggling teams at 8:33.5 AM Saturday (as witnessed by my MaraWatch, left) drove to Evanston, called the Gibby kick good, covered the postgame,  posted some blurry photos, weaseled out of Chicago via Lake Shore Dr. and drove back home.  I pulled back in my driveway at around 1:20AM Sunday.  Badge me!

 

 

My blogger brethren (who collectively wussed out and didn’t go to the game and therefore no badge for you):

Maize & Blue Nation –  Michigan 27 Northwestern 19:
mgoblogAce “Thank you, Northwestern, for being Northwestern.”
Touch the BannerJeez man:

Fire Brady Hoke? Okay, I would probably never call for a head coach’s firing based on one play, but I have rarely been angrier at a single in-game decision than Hoke’s call to go for it on 4th-and-2 down 9-6 with a little under six minutes remaining in the game.

I couldn’t believe he went for it either.

Maize and Blue News.  Five Plays that changed the game.

 

More from this site:

 

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Damn I wanted Denard, Treezy and crew to go out on a big note but it wasn’t to be.  Michigan fans know this game can be brutal and there you have it.   USC doesn’t convert on that fourth sad denard down late in the game, or even if we wrap up Shaw and bring him down on a couple late scrambles, and it’s surely over. 

I thought the defense was just inches away for sealing this game against a team we probably shouldn’t have beaten.   Give Gardner credit for generally remaining cool and getting the team down the field for the go ahead score.  Lewan overall did a fine job on Clowney. 

This game will be remembered for Clowney’s bomb blast, the back-and-forth nearly four hour battle and it being Denard’s finale.   It was fun to be down there in the fourth quarter to watch it play out but it was just heartbreaking watching the team creep off the field and sulk during the postgame.  

For a team with no running back and a depleted secondary they still had the chance to do some great things this year but really didn’t.  The highlight of the season has to be squeaking by a very mediocre Michigan State team and there’s no way 8-5 can be considered anything but a disappointment despite facing 4 of the best teams in football this year all on the road.  

Michigan teams and championship teams have depth.  One man goes down, the next guy takes his post and performs.   They are not there yet but you see a broad foundation of young guys on the team and coming.  

I had a photographer on the pitch for the first time and loved the results.  We went through them pretty rapidly so I’ll probably post some more.  Check them all out here:

Outback Bowl 2013 – 2nd Half Photos      Outback Bowl 2013 – Postgame

Outback Bowl 2013 – First Half Photos      Outback – Pregame Shots

More Sight and Sounds:

Raymond James – Loved the layout of the stadium, at least from my view (and I’ve heard complaints from those inside, so..yeah).  That said, the scoreboards are atrocious and it was tough to find a decent down and distance, but I love how they handle the ends of the field and the pirate ship and the beer garden feel.  Here’s a panoramic, click to expand:

OutbackFull

Aboard the SS Big Clownin’ before the game:

ship

Clowney Don’t Play That – I was behind the Carolina bench heading toward that end of the field when big Clownin’ dropped that bomb.  It sounded like an absolute cannon shot – never heard anything like it.   Here’s Clowney on the bench right after that bomb cooling off:

DSCN2318

The Track – While the grass was really tightly cut it it was actually pretty damp on the pitch before the game – I assume they hosed it down in the morning.  Denard slipped several times trying to cut and while obviously both teams faced the same conditions, it seemed Michigan had more trouble. 

Hey Sixteen – Several of the USC coaches (I didn’t see Spurrier) approached Denard after the game and congratulated him on his career.  Each one referred to Denard as “16”.

Look for Dreadlocks – As soon as the players took the field it was clear you couldn’t read the Michigan numbers from upstairs.  It was a little better closer to the field but it was brutal.  Here’s a decent representation of what it looked like from up top:

unis

Comfy and shoelaceless:  Denard’s cozy slippers, perhaps a Christmas gift?

slippers

Related:

  • Outback Bowl 2013 – 2nd Half Photos
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – Postgame
  • Outback Bowl 2013 – First Half Photos
  • Outback – Pregame Shots
  • TWIMFbH: Beating the Irish in the Beauty Contest

  • Congrats seniors.  Here is Denard and Kovacs getting wrapped up by Coach Hoke, how shows a little one handed ceremonial ball security.

    Brady Hoke hugs Denard Robinson - MVictors.com 

    Brady Hoke hugs Jordan Kovacs - MVictors.com

    Here’s a look at the custom made pigskins they received.   Kovacs indeed had a #11, not a 32, on his ball.  Here’s how they looked FWIW:

    Senior Day Footballs - Custom Made

    One more: here’s Denard tapping the banner for the last time, but check out Treezy with 180 of his 360 degree leap (thanks for nothing, zebras):

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    More here from MVictors:

  • Handling Family Business (Michigan 42, Iowa 17)
  • Senior Day Pageantry (Photos)
  • TWIMFbH: Platooning to Stop Davis, Blanchard (1945)
  • Moeller and Holtz Breaking Down “The Catch”
  • Win 902 will be remembered for a long time and Brady Hoke is clearly a bit charmed. 

    While Treezy’s ridiculous catch will naturally be the play everyone remembers, that comeback required quite a couple mistakes by Northwestern and few great plays to set up Gardner’s heave and of course to win the game in overtime.  

    First, let me grab my retro-spectacles to ensure my vision is 20-20.  That’s better…I can see clearly now.   For openers, Northwestern took that delay of game penalty on 4th down on the U-M 44.  They should have just punted it there and not sacrificed the five yards.  Then, with the ball at midfield, the punter hit a short, line-drive right into Gallon’s hands which is just about the worst thing that can happen.  I’m assuming that Fitz told his punter to get the ball off quickly to avoid a block, but Hoke outflanked him by setting up the return to the surprise of a few folks including Brian Griese up in the ESPN booth.   Then Treezy somehow was singled covered down the field before the lucky tip and the epic grab.  

    To Michigan’s credit, props to Hoke for calling the punt return.  Heck, he even putting an extra man back there instead going with the block.  Next, after Roundtree’s grab, cheers to the offense for getting down the field and lining up so quickly to set up the spike to kill the clock.  Finally, was anyone out there really worried about Gibby’s kick?  He’s been in that situation so many times and is absolute money– we’re actually taking the guy for granted.

    Misc, Misc, Misc, et cetera:

    KD Dang! Is it me, or was that a bizarre formation on the final play of the game?  Brian will explain it I am certain.  In any case you can’t argue with the results:

    vpdmh3

    Snot locker! 

    Cheers to you.  Once again #1000SSS did a very nice job with the Legends presentation.    But the big props goes to fans in attendance.  I wander up to the photo deck to catch the pregame activities and the roars The Ox received when Grapes announced he was at midfield was amazing.  Nicely done.  Here’s are all the #11s on the field once again:

    #11 Wistert Brothers - Michigan 

    Five Decades.  Speaking of the banner, Happy 50th Birthday to you—here’s ‘Lace and Treezy  and the new #11 – Capt. Jordan Kovacs — leading the way:

    GO BLUE banner turns 50 - Denard Robinson, Roy Roundtree

    Tweet:  mgo-Heiko noting we’ve seen this act before:

    heiko

    Maintain your Dignity.  I still have a lot of respect for Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern, and I would have been cool if he was the guy who replaced Rich Rod…but this was grass eating weird, gobble gobble turkey weird.  I spotted his sarcastic(?) little dance from the south end zone and while I was 99% sure I had to ask the dude next to me, “Is that Fitz?”  

    Pat Spazgerald Did Mike Tyson bite his ear off?   And BTW that looked like a complete crap call anyway.   Maintain your dignity, homes.

    Willie’s Head.  I got a little too close to Willie the Wildcat before the game and so did Brad from MBN:

    Willie the Wildcat via Brad at Maize and Blue Nation 

    I can confirm, as the Sklar Brothers know, that the inside of Willie’s furry head smells like Doritos, Jagermeister and broken dreams. 

    Elsewhere:

    Maize and Blue Nation photos and UMGoBlue photos.  Dell killed it on this one.  Walk off shot:

    Devin Gardner Touchdown - Dell Callihan - UMGoBlue.com - 2012 
    Does the pylon make a ‘ting!’ sound like tapping a wine glass?

    Recent but Related:

  • Mud Bowl 2012 (Photos)
  • Dr. Sap’s Decals – Northwestern Style
  • Merry TipMas
  • Hail! Al Wistert, Back in the Big House
  • TWIMFbH: Fifty Years of The Banner (1962)

     

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