Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, October 2, 2014

Michigan A.D. Dave Brandon finally spoke to the media face to face today.

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No more carefully crafted press releases sent out in the middle of the night. Nope. Brandon did what he should have done sooner: address myriad questions about the handling of the Shane Morris situation directly with reporters.

The best thing Brandon said today was that he made a mistake in how he handled things–which he did. We all knew it. But we needed to hear it from him.

"It was a very unfortunate mistake in communication that we've apologized for, and it's not going to happen again," Brandon said. "Disarray is your word. Our communication problem that I was most focused on was the one that dealt specifically with the health and welfare of our student-athlete.

"I understand everybody craves information, everybody wants information and everybody's entitled to information. But my focus was on the health and well-being of our student-athlete. And if we had a breach in communication that could have potentially jeopardized the health and welfare of a student-athlete, that's what I was focused on."

It sure looked like this affair was mishandled from the start, given what was pieced together by some outlets since Morris was inexplicably put back into last Saturday?s game with Minnesota despite being woozy. There is a heightened sensitivity to the welfare of student-athletes, with increased awareness of the perils of concussions. How could this have happened?

The department that Brandon leads let down Morris. And, Brandon was too slow to respond to myriad questions that surfaced between Saturday afternoon and today.

Regardless, it?s time to move forward and turn the page. The blame-game is over. To continue to play it now is moot and counterproductive to Michigan?s goal of saving this season. The Morris Affair has been thoroughly deconstructed. Guilt has been admitted. Changes have been made. It?s time for everyone at Michigan to come together in hopes of pulling the 2014 campaign from the brink.

That?s what today?s meeting with media outlets was about: Brandon moving forward in his tenure as A.D. with new enhanced player-safety measures that will be in place when the team hits the field at Rutgers this Saturday night.

Lord knows, the Wolverines don?t need any more distractions when they take on a hot 4-1 Scarlet Knights team that?s looking for a landmark victory during its Big Ten debut season.

Brady Hoke?s team has myriad issues to sort through as it searches to right a listing ship. This is a program in crisis on the field, sporting a 2-3 record this year and a 4-9 mark over its last 13 games. The four wins? Indiana, Northwestern, Appalachian State, Miami (Ohio).

The offense is a mess, ranking last in the Big Ten in scoring (22.0 ppg), 11th in total offense (357.6 ypg) and 12th in passing (172.2 ypg). This season?s attack looks a lot like last year?s, which isn?t good and got coordinator Al Borges fired. The arrival of new coordinator Doug Nussmeier was supposed to be a cure. It hasn?t been thus far. But plenty of time remains for a maligned line to come together, the quarterback spot to settle down and a turnover margin (minus 12) that is last in the nation to improve.

And the time is this Saturday for a Michigan program that may be playing for its season when it kicks off at Rutgers. A win would do wonders for confidence. A loss? It?s anyone?s guess what direction that would send the Wolverines. Stay tuned.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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