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Posted on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

Michigan running back FItzgerald Toussaint likely to play, hybrid Carvin Johnson probably will not

By Michael Rothstein

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Fitzgerald Toussaint

The Michigan football team appears to be at full strength at running back for the first time this season.

Redshirt freshman Fitzgerald Toussaint, who missed the first two games of the year with a knee injury, looks like he’ll be available when Michigan faces Football Championship Subdivision school Massachusetts on Saturday (noon, Big Ten Network).

“I don’t know how much he will play,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said on a teleconference Wednesday afternoon. “But he should be healthy enough to play.”

Toussaint had been vying for snaps in preseason camp with junior Michael Shaw, sophomore Vincent Smith, redshirt sophomore Michael Cox and freshman Stephen Hopkins.

Through two games, Rodriguez has used Shaw and Smith almost exclusively in tandem with Robinson. Hopkins received one carry Saturday - a 1-yard touchdown against Notre Dame. Cox has yet to play.

Through two games, Rodriguez has used Shaw and Smith almost exclusively in tandem with Robinson. Hopkins received one carry Saturday - a 1-yard touchdown against Notre Dame. Cox has yet to play.

Neither Smith nor Shaw has been particularly effective. Smith has 68 yards on 21 carries (3.2 yards per carry) and Shaw has 60 yards on 20 carries (3.0 ypc.).

Meanwhile, sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson has 455 yards rushing with 57 carries and averages 8 yards a carry.

Starting kicker role still open On Monday, Rodriguez said he’d have an open kicking competition between redshirt freshman Brendan Gibbons, who is on scholarship, and walk-on redshirt freshman Seth Broekhuizen.

As of Wednesday, Rodriguez hasn’t made a decision who will kick Saturday.

“Hopefully we’ll kick better,” Rodriguez said. “Our guys have the talent to do it.”

To challenge them, Rodriguez said they’ve run kicking games and competitions in practice this week.

Gibbons has made one of four field goals this season, hitting a 24-yarder against Connecticut but missing from 43 yards against UConn and from 39 and 40 yards against Notre Dame.

Rodriguez replaced Gibbons with Broekhuizen for the final extra point in Michigan’s 28-24 win over Notre Dame on Saturday, and he converted.

More injury news Don’t expect to see freshman hybrid Carvin Johnson play this week.

Johnson sprained his left MCL against Connecticut two weeks ago, and Rodriguez said it “does not appear” Johnson will play this week.

He didn’t, either, have a timetable for Johnson's return after he darted his way up the depth chart and into a starting role before the beginning of the season.

“His progress is going well,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know if he’ll be back next week or not.

“…We’re hoping it’ll be within a week or two, but I couldn’t answer that right now.”

Wide receiver Junior Hemingway, who has battled injuries his entire career, is doubtful to play with an injured hamstring.

On transfers Rodriguez didn’t sound concerned defensive end Anthony LaLota decided to leave Michigan, the second player to leave the Wolverines in as many weeks. His reasoning was that often, when a player wants to transfer from one Football Bowl Subdivision school to another, it happens in August or early in the season so the player could use the 2010 season as his transfer sit-out year.

“It happens all across the country,” Rodriguez said. “It happens on occasion. Sometimes it works out for the guys and sometimes it doesn’t.”

LaLota, a New Jersey native, is transferring to Rutgers, according to

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein



Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 7:53 a.m.

@ ThoseWhoStayUofM EXACTLY! I have been thinking the very same thing. I've been waiting and waiting and expecting to see Hemmingway bust out and be a big time receiver for Michigan. He showed flashes early on in his career, but all he seems able to show us is he's always hurt...what a waste. If Roundtree's grit and durability were in Hemmingway's, that would be something to see.

NC Wolverine 20

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:36 p.m.

What I mean is, where are the kids transferring IN to UMICH? Are there not a few disgruntled DB prospects out there who are not starting at Florida or USC or wherever who could make an impact for us?

NC Wolverine 20

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 8:15 p.m.

OK, so the video-game generation has a short attention span, and they transfer a lot. I get it. But why can we not get a few of those transfers to play DB??!


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 5:18 p.m.

@div5: I fully agree with you. While I think it stinks that so many players are transferring, and it concerns me regarding the Michigan program, I put that on the players who expect to play right away and won't work for it. Or wait for it. Used to be that most new players in the program knew that they would be backups, learn a lot in practice and bulk up, then when they got older, they would start. And so on. Does not seem to be that way anymore. And I think it's too bad. But has anyone checked out what has happened to most of the transfers? According to "the Wolverine", most of those guys are no longer on rosters and hardly playing if on rosters. So maybe it's not that big of a deal.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 5:03 p.m.

We sure do need a running back to step up, I hope Fred Jackson will figure something out soon.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

Why can't Junior Hemingway NOT be injured for once in his life? This is seriously upsetting me. I thought he was probable for the UMass game but now it's doubtful? COME ON! Hopefully we get Toussaint though. He is great.


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 3:32 p.m.

RE Transfers: In talking to some Gator Alums last night, they mentioned that Florida has had 3 transfers early this season as well. All 4-star recruits - Adrian Coxson, Jordan Hayden, & Adrien Bushnell. Also, in late August, two top 5-star 2010 recruits skipped practice (Ronald Powell & Dominique Easley) while threatening to transfer for coaches disciplining them during special team drills. It could be that recent rash of M transfers is more indicative of today's youth giving up too easy as opposed to an indicator of the quality of our program. Perhaps the contrary... why keep sour apples around to spoil the whole bunch?


Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 12:57 p.m.

I hope these guys are fully on the mend. Robinson needs someone to help on the carries but I hope the guy is well enough, often injuries return when a guy comes back to soon.