Freshman running back Austin White no longer part of Michigan football program
Freshman running back Austin White is no longer part of the Michigan football program, coach Rich Rodriguez announced Sunday morning at the team's annual media day.
The 6-foot, 200-pound back was on the Wolverines' roster as of Friday and was in the mix of up to six running backs looking to be contributors to Michigan's ground attack.
That's no longer the case.
"Austin White is no longer in the program," Rodriguez said Sunday morning. "We wish him well and we'll help him in the (transfer) regard, but he's no longer part of the Michigan football family."
White, a Livonia native, enrolled at Michigan in the spring, giving him time to adjust to college life and to being part of the Wolverines' program.
But during the Big Ten Network's Michigan preview, he was showed on video as one of the players without wings on their helmets. Quarterback Tate Forcier was also included in a group of players that wore plain helmets, a sign they needed to work themselves back into Rodriguez's good graces.
According to spectators who attended Saturday's closed scrimmage at Michigan Stadium, White was not present. Rodriguez said Michael Shaw, Mike Cox and Vincent Smith all exhibited solid effort during Saturday's scrimmage.
Shaw, Michigan's leading returning rusher (400 yards, two touchdowns on 84 carries), remains a question mark after he was ruled academically ineligible. Rodriguez said he should have a better idea of where players stand by the end of the week.
Rodriguez said Sunday he expects Michigan's run game to be by committee rather than showcasing a feature back. He said he envisions situations where up to four backs could see time and expects any of them, including redshirt freshman Fitz Toussaint, to step in at tailback in Michigan's Sept. 4 opener against UConn.
"That's not a bad situation to be in, but it's just hard to get them all reps," Rodriguez said. "We try and do the best we can to roll them in and out where they're comfortable, the quarterbacks are comfortable with the exchange. So far that's worked in practice."
Jeff Arnold covers sports for AnnArbor.com and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyparnold.