With poll: Fitz Toussaint and Frank Clark will sit Saturday -- was it the right call?
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke made it official Friday: Running back Fitz Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark will not travel with the team to Texas, and will not be in uniform when the Wolverines battle No. 2 Alabama on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC).
Hoke opted not to divulge his decision on Toussaint -- who was suspended for an offseason drunken-driving arrest -- or Clark -- who was suspended for an offseason for a home invasion charge -- for virtually a month.
He explained how the decision was difficult due to the fact that it dealt with "good young men" and their "real lives," but in the end, Hoke said the decision to sit two starters in the school's biggest season-opener in recent memory wasn't about football.
"It's about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we've won," Hoke said in a statement. "That is ultimately what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society."
We pondered Toussaint's status on Tuesday during our Wolverines "Issue of the Week," and though the opinions were split on whether or not he would to play this weekend -- few believed he should be allowed to.
- crimsonseoul: I don't think Fitz should play. I think it sets a bad example and could potentially be poisonous to your program, see Urban Meyer with percy harvin when he finished out at Florida. You definitely don't want to distinguish punishments based on what players can do on the field. That's a slippery slope that creates a lot of resentment within the locker room that can potentially ruin a program.
- Firebrand: Part of me wants to see him sit. I want UofM to be known for high quality students on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Another part of me wants him to play. I want to win the game on Saturday. If Fitz does play, I think he ought to make the criteria he required public. If Fitz does not play, then it should remain between the the coach and Fitz.
- blue2thegrave: Based on how Hoke handled Stonum, I think Toussaint will travel, dress, and cheer from the sideline. This is a monster game and the nation will watch Fitz learn humility. Fitz is not going to play but I think the outlook against the Tide D is only slightly bleaker. UM is up against superior talent and experience, especially along the lines, and can only win this game in an opportunistic and somewhat ugly fashion. Special teams, defense, field position, penalties, turnovers. Fitz doesn't impact those and they will be the difference.
- zslawter: THE TEAM THE TEAM THE TEAM! These guys weren't thinking about the TEAM when they made those choices. As Hoke said, its more than just about Football games!
On the field, Michigan will have its work cut out for it without Toussaint. But even with him, things would have likely been tough.
Either Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith or Justice Hayes will now attempt to become just the third running back in Alabama's past 61 games to run for more than 100 yards.
For those counting at home, that's roughly five seasons of rush defense dominance.
As for Clark, the impact won't be as noticeable -- although Michigan will need every able body it can find to combat Alabama's offensive line.
But as Hoke said, this wasn't all about football. And most Michigan fans seem to agree.
What about you? Did Hoke do the right thing with Toussaint and Clark?
Let us know.