this Sept. 20, 2014, file photo, Michigan offensive
coordinator Doug Nussmeier, left, and head coach
Brady Hoke watch from the sidelines during the
closing minutes of their 26-10 loss to Utah during
the second half of their NCAA college football game
in Ann Arbor, Mich.
sideline is often the worst place to watch a football
game. Even for the head coach standing front and center,
getting a good look at what is happening on the field can
the coach can be 100 players and dozens of assistants and
staffers packed into an area 50 yards long, all zipping
from play to play.
How is a
coach supposed to look for injuries in all that activity,
and still run his team? With plenty of help.
athletic director apologized Tuesday after quarterback
Shane Morris was allowed to play after taking a late hit
that left him wobbly. Morris, who also had a sprained
ankle, stayed in the game for one more play after the big
hit. The school said athletic trainers did not test him
for a concussion because they didn't see the late hit.
Head coach Brady Hoke allowed Morris to go back into the
game for one play before he was finally tested for a
situation has raised questions about Michigan's
decision-making process and about whose responsibility it
is to be looking for injuries amid chaos on the field.
college football programs have athletic trainers and team
doctors on the sideline, along with a group of student
assistants. Assistant coaches are also told to be on alert
this Sept. 27, 2014, photo, Michigan quarterback
Shane Morris lays on the field after taking a hit in
the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game
against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
coaches are expected to be aware of their players, for the
medical staff, it's the top priority.
trainers and doctors are looking at the game at a whole
different perspective than I am," Nebraska coach Bo
programs rely on more than just the medical staff. Notre
Dame coach Brian Kelly said his head athletic trainer, Rob
Hunt, uses student trainers as spotters to watch the field
for injured players.
athletic trainers, doctors and student assistants, most
big-time college football programs will have around 20
people on the sideline during games who are in some way
part of a medical staff.
Clemson football game, the Tigers will have seven
full-time athletic trainers and doctors on the sideline,
plus another 15 student assistants.
have a monstrous medical staff. We've got doctors for
doctors," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
when there is a player being treated for an injury during
a game that could compromise his availability, the head
trainer communicates directly to the head coach. The same
rule applies when a player is cleared to return to action.
and if the player can come back in the game, the head
coach is the first person to know," Rutgers coach
Kyle Flood said.
Forest coach Dave Clawson said the flow of information
should be immediate and constant.
down with this, you don't have him for at least a series,
it might be longer' or 'He's down with this, you don't
have him at least to the half, I'll let you know at
halftime,' or 'He's got this, he's done.' That way, I can
tell the coordinators on the headsets that, 'Hey, you
don't have him for at least this. Plan you don't have him
for the rest of the game, I'll let you know when he's
back,'" Clawson said.
who work with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin wear
earpieces on the sideline to help that communication.
one of the few head coaches who does not wear a headset on
the sideline. Sumlin said at times he finds out through
the headset if a player is being taken to the locker room.
Michigan, the Morris situation was complicated when
quarterback Devin Gardner had his helmet come off during a
play and by rule had to miss the next play. Morris
re-entered and handed the ball off to a running back. Hoke
said there was some confusion about whether Michigan could
use a timeout to keep Gardner in the game and in that time
Morris went back on the field.
coach Darrell Hazel said what happened at Michigan got him
and his staff thinking about what they might do in a
similar situation. Hazel said they planned to have
receiver Bilal Marshall prepared to take an emergency
coach says that when it comes to deciding on whether a
player can play, that is not their call.
trainers and our doctors control who goes back in the
game," Kelly said. "So it's out of the hands of
assistant coaches and the head coach as to who goes back
in the game."