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Posted on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:45 a.m.

Michigan preparing suspended tailback Fitz Toussaint as though he will play against Alabama

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan football coach Brady Hoke allowed Fitz Toussaint to return to practice Monday, but still hasn't made a decision on his status for the season opener against Alabama.

Melanie Maxwell |

No one knows whether starting Michigan tailback Fitz Toussaint will play against Alabama -- not even coach Brady Hoke.

But Toussaint will be prepared as though he will play in that game when he rejoins the Wolverines at Monday's practice.

"Brady just said to prepare him, and that’s what we’re doing," running backs coach Fred Jackson said Sunday during the team's media day. "I treat him like nothing happened. I’m preparing him, because the kid made a mistake, he’s paying for it and I think I got to treat him as if everything is just status quo so he’s ready to go."

Toussaint was indefinitely suspended following a drunken-driving arrest July 21, and held out of Michigan's first seven practices. He'll join camp Monday, although Hoke said he has yet to decide whether the junior will play in the season opener Sept. 1.


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If Toussaint misses that game, it would be a blow for the Wolverines, considering the Crimson Tide feature the nation's reigning No. 1 rush defense.

And it would be a blow for Toussaint, who is coming off a breakout season. He rushed for 1,041 yards last year, his first as a starter, and is the Big Ten's third-leading returning rusher at the position.

"I see the kid walking around -- he’s a hurt kid," Jackson said. "The mistake he made, he regrets it, he’s paying for it, he’s sorry for what he did."

Jackson said he talks to Toussaint every day and that although he is disappointed, he is holding up well.

"I try to see him and encourage him, because I think the kid’s got a great future," Jackson said. "He’s been told what to do and hopefully he’s followed that plan. I look forward to seeing how he looks on Monday.”

The week off is a setback for a player who otherwise had a tremendous offseason. Toussaint bulked up to 202 pounds, after playing last year at 195, and still managed to increase his speed, according to Jackson.

Toussaint worked out individually at Schembechler Hall in the past week as he tried to stay sharp for when he was reinstated.

Sophomore Thomas Rawls and senior Vincent Smith, as well as sophomore Justice Hayes, received the bulk of the practice snaps at tailback in the first week. Rawls is expected to be named the starter if Toussaint misses time.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

What definition of "suspended" is Coach Hoke using? Any player with legal troubles should be excluded from all team functions, including practice. He has more important things to think about than football.

Steve McQueen

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

Glenn Winston...notable sparty thug (typical actually) was immediately reinstated by d-tonio after he served jail time. go green lol hypocrites.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Winston was dismissed from the team after his second offense... Hoke dismissed Stonum after his 15th violation....

Matt Patercsak

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

great read on Hokes inactivity behind Toussaint and Clark give it a read


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

Well, the line has certainly been drawn in the sand on this issue. I want to see Mich. show up with their best talent for the Alabama game and by sitting Fitz for that game the message that sends to the rest of the team could create the best talent to make a run at Alabama. It's also my opinion that Fitz will play like a man possessed for the remainder of the season he is allowed to play. My bet is that Brady feels the heat and will sit Fitz.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

I don't care one way or the other. If he screws up again- however- he should be off the team. Three strikes is too many. Stonum showed us that. If he screws up again and still plays then we aren't morally superior to anyone except OSU and Penn State. They are football teams that run a University.

The C-O

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

So here I go with my post at the risk of offending some of those who are legal scholars. Everyone let's step off of our soap box and remember everyone has made a mistake or two in their lives, but yet most were given a second chance. We can go off of would've, could've and should've, but at the end of the day these are college students who will make a mistake or two on occasion. So relax and take a deep breath the sun will come up tomorrow whether Fitz plays or not. Also, I do notice a lot of trolls who live in glass houses throwing stones. Go Blu!

The C-O

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

Heartbreak, I find it hilarious that judges and other high ranking politicians have gotten the proverbial slap on the wrist for being stopped for DUI, but we want to send these college kids in to oblivion and kill their self-confidence. The mere thought of this kids livelihood being taken away can be enough to stop the negative behavior. I have about 20 years in law enforcement and I made sure every time I stopped someone for DUI they went to jail, because that was the only way I felt they would learn their lesson. I believe he was arrested and maybe, just maybe he has learned his lesson and will now become an even more productive Michigan man! I'm just saying let the legal system do what it does and the coach will do what he does, but I believe each situation involving the players should be handled on a case by case basis; there should be no blanket policy, because everyone is different. That's why some people get 30 days and others 6 months for committing the same crime. Maybe it was enough for him to see the inside of a jail to realize the magnitude of his mistake. Go Blu!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

Hey Heartbreak. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what any of us think is a fair and just punishment. I'm going to stop wasting my breath and wait to see what the end all of this situation works out to be. It's not for any of us to decide.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

But what punishment fits the "mistake"? Is missing a week of practice? A game? Two games? a suspension when the team is not in session? What if he sits for a year or less, but is still allowed to come back next year (sort of like the stonum "punishment")? Will that allow him to have a second chance? What about school without football--along with alcohol education and community service? Is this enough of a second chance since he is still getting his scholarship? I am trying to understand what you are asking for--and I have been vocal about what I believe is a good and just consequence for a DUI at 0.12


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

DUI endangers the lives of other drivers and passengers. He should be suspended from the team, period. Set an example for the rest of the team and stop recruiting punks on the UM football team. Recruit players who are responsible young adults who will follow the rules. Toussaint was a member of the UM football team when he was arrested for a DUI. There are no excuses for this level of irresponsibility. If he is allowed to play this year, other players will see that and figure, "Gee, no problem if I break the law. I'll still be able to play." Hoke needs to set a firm example and stick to it.

The C-O

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

Wow JRW, if the UM football team is so responsible, than why would one of the players say "Gee, no problem if I break the law. I'll still be able to play." I guess the players are not as smart as people think they are if they can't make choices on their own. I give them much more credit than that!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

I read a lot on this website about how bad Urban Meyer and his players were and that Meyer had no discipline. Interesting though, that of the 31 arrests (involving 25 players) in 6 years at Florida, two were arrested for DUI. One lost his scholarship and didn't play again, the other was suspended (for the SEC championship game against 'Bama). and lest someone questions, that's 5.16 arrests per year, well below Mr. Hoke's average. FYI, Meyer dismissed 10 players and indefinitely suspended 2 more (who left the team) including Cam Newton.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

i give the program 3 maybe 4 years...then comes NCAA sanctions. complete lack of discipline on this team. What's the count now? 8 arrest this year alone? and they keep on playing. with standards like that, how much can the players get away with?


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Oh ya I forgot theres never been a player arrested in the sec...yawn.

Steve McQueen

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

I love that run vs. Purdue in the photo above, where here split the defenders on the cutback and took it for the long TD. Just beautiful. Fitz looked GREAT in the spring camp, he really was primed for a breakout year. I couldnt understand the DUI because he never had that rep for being in trouble. Hopefully it was a one time thing. IMO they will rotate him in the game vs. Tide but he will not start. That is OK, there is a lot of depth in the RB position and a "nice mix" of various guys who do a lot of different things very well.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

So, the debate continues: should he play or not play? The issue is how should misconduct be addressed when an athlete makes a blunder; what is the proper course of action that should be taken? Would the penalty be the same if Michigan were playing Akron on Sept 1? Whatever you do, you set the standard. If another player, second or third string thing does the same offense, you have to apply the same penalty. How do you justify anything different for a first offense the next time is occurs? So if he plays the whole team knows they can get one DWI and still play in the next game. Is that good or bad? And does each school set its own policy or should it be standardized across conferences by the NCAA?


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

@Just. Question, to what "other accounts" are you referring? as for you other comments, so by your "standard" any infraction that does not directly affect their "day-to-day life in work or in school" should not be the subject of disciplinary action? hmmm...


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

#record: You are sure excusing Fitzgerald Touissant from his incredible lapse of judgment, and placing any penalty on the coach, the university, etc. Nobody forced this young man to DUI, and his decision and his action alone are what force the penalty. He is the one that chose to drink and drink and drink then get into the car while having a level of 150% the legal upper limit. His actions have led to the consequences. It is up to Hoke I guess to decide what to do, but if suspended for the year, Fitz only has to look at himself for that punishment. He had a choice, and chose to drink and drive. Fortunately, nobody was injured but lack of injury should not preclude consequences. Do we wait until somebody gets maimed? I think then it's too late.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

As I have said on here a billion times now. There is an infinite number of ways that this can be handled which still allow the player - who by all other accounts seems to be a fine fellow - to not have their life thrown down the crapper because of one mistake. Again, I point out that anyone in a profession or student world that had the same infraction would handle the due process of the law and hopefully learn from it, but it does not affect their day-to-day life in work or in school. If you use it as an excuse to take away the player's potential as an athlete and professional athlete it is only THEN that a small mistake is magnified and that person's life could really go down the crapper - which the chain reaction of that will make other people's lives around him go down the crapper. Make it a learning lesson and turn it into something positive!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

8 arrests under Hoke now, outside of Stonum has any playerm missed a game because of it? I expect both Toussaint and Clark to play against Alabama, the precednt has been set already.

Steve McQueen

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

about 20 arrests at sparty that one year and about 8 in the past year in that is college football these days son. Learn something.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

Tousaint maybe, Clark, no. Toussaint committed a driving offense, a stupid thing to do, but he did not steal from another student at the level of a felony. Big difference between the two offenses.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

How ironic, Wisconsin star running back Monte Ball is recovering from a concusion after an attack by five men and his coach has deemed him able to play for the first game. Brady Hoke has a healthy (when sober) running back and after weeks to decide is still not sure if it is right for his player to play in the first game after drinking, drving with a .12 blood achohol level and running red lights of busy intersections. One thing for sure is Tousant is no longer suspended from the team as he will practice altlhough according to the headline he is still suspended. Suspended from what? Hoke knows Tousant will play but will announcement it right before the game to not create a distraction and avoid taking heat for doing the wrong thing for three more weeks.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

There were actually 16 players involved in the fight. Dantonio did the right thing and imediately suspended all 16 from the upcoming bowl game against Texas Tech. Several players were kicked off the team permanently.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Do we know if he RAN a read light, or did one of those right-turn-on reds where you don't come to a complete stop and police who are on the hunt for any reason to pull people over used it as an excuse?

Steve McQueen

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

speaking of concussions... what ever happened to those 8 spartys who were in that gang fight a couple years back? oh yeah... now I remember: NOTHING. They played as they always did. Hypocrite much Dantonio crew? lol whatever keep yapping and playing dirty sparty.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

I must have forgotten; what was he convicted of?

Robert Granville

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Michigan has been preparing S Marvin Robinson to play since November of 2011. He hasn't played since.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Michigan–Ohio State football rivalry Total meetings 108 Series record Michigan leads, 58–43–6 First meeting October 17, 1897 Michigan 34, Ohio State 0 Last meeting November 26, 2011 Michigan 40, Ohio State 34 Next meeting November 24, 2012 Largest win Michigan, 86–0 (1902) Longest win streak Michigan, 9 (1901–1909) Current win streak Michigan, 1 (2011–present) Trophy None Since 1969- Michigan leads 21-19-2 ( 1 no contest) The Wolverines have also won 42 Big Ten conference titles (compared to Ohio State's 33) and 11 national titles (compared to the Buckeyes' 7) THE World University Rankings 2011-2012 18 University of Michigan United States 57 Ohio State University United States We beat them in academics too!!!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

what does this have to do with the player being suspended.....this means nothing....


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

I better not hear another word about UM integrity of he plays! This kid put others peoples lives in danger by drinking and driving and he might only miss one week of practice?!

Steve McQueen

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

the 8 spartys who beat down the frat kids at the party and missed 0 time.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

And he might miss the full season. Ever heard of Darryl Stonum? Stop bellyaching, and react to things as they happen in real time, not imaginary time.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Jeff Smoker.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

Heaven forbid the team should wait for the justice process to play out. After all, suspended players have never been found not guilty, have they?


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

I think it makes no difference in a case like this. Even if for some reason his case was dropped, he still drove while intoxicated. No ifs, ands or buts about it. The issue is how big a deal should it be?

Howard the Duck

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Hoke wouldn't practice him first team if he didn't intend to play him. So much for myth of ethical superiority in ann arbor!


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

We all make mistakes, nobody is perfect. Fitz is an excellent young man as well as an exceptional running back. I am sure he is thankful nobody got hurt! however, people could have been hurt or worse and I am sure that resonates within him. He has been humble through this process, and will accept the consequences that come his way. I am retired military, and coming through the ranks included making mistakes. I am thankful to those who believed in me and gave me a second chance.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

@Craigjjs. Question, if there is so much faith being placed on this "due process" excuse, then why was he suspended in the first place? Now if Hoke had come out and said it's team policy not to take ANY action until everything had played out in the courts...


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

The thing is, it's not up to us, or our privilege to know how he is paying for it. If reporters stopped asking the question every 2 seconds, it would go away.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

I really wish the coach would just announce what the decision is and why. If it appears lenient I expect some explanation of the statement made by Coach Jackson, "The mistake he made, he regrets it, he's paying for it, he's sorry for what he did." Perhaps we would be satisfied if we knew how he is paying for it.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

I think you don't have any idea what you're talking about, Howard. Just my opinion though.

Robert Granville

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Marvin Robinson.... cough cough


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

An assumption based upon pure speculation and envy. Just pathetic. So much for the myth of due process.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

let him practice. but he should sit first game. but that is not up to me.