Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Monday that he has asked Big Ten officials to review the violent hit on sophomore quarterback Shane Morris that drew a roughing the passer penalty on Minnesota defensive end Thieren Cockran.
Hoke reportedly believes that targeting should have been called on Cockran, which would have resulted in an ejection.
Hoke said Monday that Morris was medically cleared to return to the game and that the quarterback was removed because of a leg injury. Hoke also said the team “would never” permit an injured player to return to a game.
Hoke has come under scrutiny for his handling of Morris in his team's 30-14 loss. Morris was already hampered by the leg injury when Cockran launched himself at Morris. After the hit, Morris appeared disoriented and apparently needed to lean on an offensive lineman in order to avoid falling over.
After two teammates appeared to signal to the sideline, Morris remained in the game for another play, attempting a pass that fell incomplete. Morris re-entered two plays later when senior Devin Gardner was forced to come out of the game after losing his helmet.
Here is a video of the hit, from MLive.com:
Hoke talked about the sequence involving Morris in a Q&A published on Michigan’s athletics website:
(Shane) was on the bench and (senior football athletic trainer) Paul Schmidt was looking at his leg, and (reserve quarterback) Russell (Bellomy) was there. Russell is signaling in, him and the other quarterbacks. And when Shane heard his name, the medical staff said, 'Yeah, he can go.' And he went out on the field. We'd never put a kid out there who wasn't capable. He was medically cleared to go in on that play.
Hoke also released a statement 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.”