Guest Contibutor Series: “The Abuse of Shane Morris” by Daniel Carr

Posted on Posted in Michigan Football, Recruiting

The “Guest Contributor Series” gives the power to the people. Ever wanted to make a post for a website without all of the strings attached? Well, here’s your chance. The Big House Report gives you the power and the freedom to speak your mind.

This edition’s contributor is Daniel Carr (or @HolySmHoke on Twitter). He discusses Shane Morris. Check it out below:

Courtesy of ESPN.com

The Abuse Of Shane Morris

At first glance, you may think that I’m ‘off my nut’.  Abuse?  What in the world is this about?  How could that even be possible?  Good questions.

I’m not referring to abuse in the classic sense. What I see happening is a combination of exploitation and overuse. There is genuine concern for Shane’s career, especially his longevity in the game he loves.

My background is in baseball, more specifically, pitching.  It is well known that the motion of throwing overhand is an unnatural act for the shoulder and all of the tissues that helps make the act of throwing possible.  Injuries are becoming more and more commonplace and athletes are pushed to their physical limits and beyond, all for the pursuit of ‘the dream’.  I’ve had my share of injuries during my playing career, eventually being forced away from playing in college due to the pain caused by even playing catch.  What happened isn’t unusual, nor is the risk of permanent injury going away.

The act of throwing a baseball is very similar to that of a football except for one small act, the twisting of the wrist/elbow in a violent inward motion to achieve the spiral.  Also, the fact that the football throwing motion is referred to in baseball terms as ‘short arming’ the throw to achieve a quick release time.  Most baseball pitching coaches and trainers recommend that no one under the age of 14 be taught how to throw a breaking ball.  The reason for this is simple, the act itself it too hard on the joints and adjoining tissues could lead to many future problems/injuries. Tendonitis, joint inflammation, and early arthritis are just some of the problems that follow early abuse of the shoulder and elbow. Some are even being subjected to surgery to repair the abused area.

I agree with this wholeheartedly and even though I’ve been asked numerous times by well meaning parents/coaches, I kindly refuse for the above reasons.  Most understand but some get angry with me.  The general feeling is that I am denying the player a potential advantage that could help advance the player’s career.  So, what does all of this have to do with Shane?

A quick look at Shane’s recruiting status among the varied recruiting services show that he has a great talent and a very bright future.  Of this fact, there is little to no debate.  My issue is with what is happening to him now.  With his commitment to the University of Michigan secure, what is the point of the attempt to increase his ratings with the scouting services?  So far this summer, if my count is correct, Shane has participated in at least 8 different football camps.  Granted, these are the elite, invitation only types that all high school players dream of being asked to attend.  But just like asking a multi-billionaire ‘how much money is enough’, how much exposure is enough?  What could really be gained by attending these other than the experience and pushing fellow campers to choose Michigan also?  Is the prospect of getting the few recruiting services that rate Shane as a 4* to make them move him into the 5* area really worth it?  Will he decommit from Michigan and go to a ‘better opportunity’ because he gets that extra star? Of course not.

This isn’t as simple as having a player, especially a quarterback, show up, run a couple 40s and leave.  Shane and the others are being asked repeatedly to show off their arm.  Not including the warm ups, a quarterback at these camps are asked to throw literally hundreds of throws every day.  This repetition goes well beyond ‘gaining arm strength’.  To me, this borders on insanity and abuse.  Who really benefits from making Shane throw the ‘deep out’ pattern 20-30 times in a row?

When I was a varsity baseball coach, the MHSAA instituted a pitch count regulation for baseball players.  There were sheets that the coaches were required to fill out daily and keep on hand throughout the season to show each player’s pitch/inning count up to the minute.  I understand the reasoning behind this rule, to protect the arms of our young players.  During my playing days, before the pitch/inning count rule, I regularly threw both games of a double header without anyone coming in for relief.  It wasn’t a big deal to me at the time but it makes me wonder ‘what if’ and how much of all of those pitches brought my career to a premature end.

There are currently no limits on the number of throws a quarterback can make in a day, game, or season.  I’m not pushing for there to be one initiated.  There’s a number of football offenses that would literally disappear if a player was limited to 40 throws a game, for example.  What I am pushing for in this case, is for common sense to be applied.  Shane’s elbow and shoulder need rest.  They need rest right now.  Shane will go from all of these camps right into his senior season.  Once the season ends, Shane will undoubtedly be placed on a program to further ready him for the rigors of major college football which will then lead him right into his time at the University of Michigan.  Multiple throwing sessions of hundreds of passes will be in the program.  Is this really a good idea?  Where is the time off that his body will need?  Shane will take a number of big hits in the fall as well as making a number of big throws. Both of these are part of the game but the excessive abuse of the throwing motion doesn’t need to be included.

It’s very possible that Shane will go on to have a stellar career at Michigan and possibly even the NFL.  Eventually though, the excessive throwing will catch up to him.  We can only hope that when it does, it’s not in Ann Arbor.

Derek Devine
Institutional voice of Alma College during the day, Michigan fanatic at night. Taking TBHR to the next level one post at a time.