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Posted on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

Status of Fitz Toussaint and Frank Clark still undecided, Brady Hoke says

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan football coach Brady Hoke still hasn't decided if Fitz Toussaint or Frank Clark will suit up against Alabama on Sept. 1.

Melanie Maxwell |

Brady Hoke stil isn't sure whether or not he'll play junior running back Fitz Toussaint in the season-opener against Alabama, and he's still not sure when, exactly, he'll decide.

Asked Tuesday what Toussaint has to do to get clearance from Hoke for the 2012 debut, the Michigan football coach was again rather vague.

"He's got to demonstrate that (he'll) do the right things," Hoke said.

Hoke was also asked whether or not his choice to take his time with the decision could be viewed as a bit of gamesmanship with Alabama, as the Crimson Tide seemingly now have to prepare for both Toussaint and sophomore running back Thomas Rawls.

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Michigan coach Brady Hoke, above, said on Monday that he still had not decided whether Fitz Toussaint or Frank Clark would play against Alabama.

That notion was quickly shot down, though, as Hoke said that's in no way a reason for his delayed decision.

"I really don't care (about that)," said Hoke, whose team will battle the Crimson Tide on Sept. 1. "No, it's not."

Toussaint, along with suspended sophomore defensive end Frank Clark, returned to practice last week after beginning fall camp away from the field due to a drunken driving charge last month.

The running back is scheduled to appear in court to face one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated on Aug. 28, which is just four days before the Wolverines open the season against the Crimson Tide in Arlington, Texas.

Hoke said Toussaint's court date will not have an influence on whether or not he plays.

As for Clark, Hoke said the sophomore end is in the same situation as Toussaint -- in that he hasn't made up his mind whether or not he'll see game action in the season opener.

Clark, who is facing a second-degree home invasion charge after being accused of stealing a laptop from a campus dorm room, is due in court on Sept. 11, three days after Michigan's first home game of the year against Air Force.

"(Clark is) in the same boat (as Toussaint) right now," Hoke said. "They've both got an oar."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

If I was coach of Mich. and Fitz was found guilty Aug. 28 I would sit Fitz for the Alabama game. I am not the coach of Mich. therefore it's none of my business and therefore I am fine with whatever coach Hoke decides after all, it is his decision in every way, shape and form. Bottom line is, coach Hoke is the judge, sheriff and jury of the football team.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

Gosh I sure hope that if I ever trip up and get DUI, I dont get suspended from my job, jeopardizing my future potential, because the legal bills and all else you have to go through with the criminal justice system are quite enough. Sure, if I had hurt someone I would understand the additional penalization by my employer. But a mistake is a mistake, and I should not be further penalized based on "what ifs." You can't run a justice system on "what ifs." If I get stopped for speeding or running a stopsign, I dont get additional punishment based on the fact that I could have more easily hit someone or if I had hit someone, I might have done more damage. It is estimated that a DUI costs around 10 thousand dollars, not to mention the hours of community service and jail time. I think that's enough.

Old Salt

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 6 p.m.

If I were a betting man I would say they will play..


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

The amount of hypocrisy around here is mindboggling. Michigan "fans" making excuses and downplaying the seriousness of DRUNK DRIVING. If this had been a Spartan player, every one of you would be bashing Dantonio for even thinking about playing the kid and you know it. Pathetic.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

How do I know they're the same people? Well, I frequent this site and I recognize the names for starters. Beyond that, you can look up old stories and read the comments yourself if you prefer. It's disgusting.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

How on earth do you know that any of the people that decried Dantonio's punishment of his players are the same ones now applauding the thought that Hoke might not punish his players to same standard, whatever the equivalent might be (if there even is one)? Or are you just making assumptions to make some meaningless point?


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

The reality is no one here knows what Hoke's plans are! I wish people would stop pretending they knew what the future held for these guys' situations, and just let it play out! We can in no way compare the way Hoke is handling this to how Dantonio handled any discipline issues until we actually see how it plays out! Sheesh!! Get a grip, everybody!

Saban Nation

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

I don't see Clark playing, but I hope to see Toussaint on the field.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

It's interesting to see some of the commenters so certain of Clark's and Toussaint's guilt. Neither have had their day in court, yet. I guess that doesn't matter anymore.


Thu, Aug 23, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

It doesn't matter what the legal systems says. We are talking about TEAM rules. Is it against a team rule to be out late, drinking and driving, and being "drunk" enough to run through a red light? If that's not a against any team rule, then fine, no problem. If it's not against any team rule to steal, then fine, no problem. If it is, then the "legal" status of either does NOT matter. It violated a team rule and the team will punish as it sees fit.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

You sound like a Moo-U fan.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

As a fan, I don't have a problem with what Hoke is doing with Toussaint and Clark and what he will do with them. As long as Hoke remains consistent is what matters.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

Brady Hoke's Bachelor's degree from Ball State is in Criminal Justice.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

And your point is?


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

People need to relax. Fitz is going to play in that game. It's college football which is a business. Period. A bottom-line business to be specific where you're judged on if you win. Fitz gives them the best chance to win. Therefore, he plays. Now if this was like his 2nd or 3rd offense then yeah, sit him. But those who think UM is on some higher pedestal and above giving star players 2nd chances are in fantasy land. They have been doing just that for years but we never heard of it due to lack of social media/internet. People need to come to grips that all programs are concerned about winning first and foremost no matter what they say. Some (O$U, and the SEC) are just a little more slimy than the others. This isn't high school football people. It's big-time college football where money and winning talks. Sorry to ruin your fantasy.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

No, TheWay, I get it. What you guys don't get is that no matter what these coaches feed you it is never really about the "student athletes." It's a business and the players are what makes them (coaches and schools) money and keeps them employed so they will put the best on the field if at all possible and spin it any way they can. It may be a cruel and dirty business, but a business just the same. College football is no longer for the morally competant or choir boys. Sorry. Just the way it is. If you can't accept that all schools that are truly serious about winning (UM included) are all playing under those rules then I suggest you stop watching college football. GO BLUE!!


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

I think you're misunderstanding. Those of us who actually care about the student athletes don't want Fitz to play. He endangered the lives of innocent people. 1st offense or not, drinking and driving is very, very serious and absolutely warrants missed gametime.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

clark is at a crossroads. Hoke loves his kids. It is my guess that he won't kill his career and the kid will grow into a michigan hero with a second chance and some love from michigan. Everyone makes mistakes when young. He will lean on the oar! Go Blue!!!


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

Has Mr. Hoke indicated when he plans to make a decision or what factors are causing him to withhold his decision?

Nick Baumgardner

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

SEC, he's played everything close to the vest in both situations. No definite timetable, no definite parameters on what they have to do to get back on the field. It's been a wait and see situation almost from the start. John, the tricky part there is what, exactly, does that mean? One might take that statement as: "He has to prove he can go 12 weeks without drinking and driving again." I doubt that's the situation, but you see my point. Very vague.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

Hoke's process is outcome-based, not time-based. Neither Toussaint nor Clark will play until they "demonstrate that (they'll) do the right things." That's why there's no time-frame announced for making a decision.

Steve McQueen

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

Trolls either forget, or refuse to understand where Fitz came from. Youngstown is no picnic...and he has had a tough situation in his family to break out of *I wont go in to detail but if you google it you may find out more... This is a strong kid, a good kid...who deserves a second chance for his mistake. Coach Hoke will set Fitz up to succeed, Im very confident of that. Go Blue.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 8:44 a.m.

A number of the commenters are tough on Mr. Hoke. He's between a "rock and a hard place" with these guys. In order to win in today's Big Ten you've got to have some of these inner city guys on your team because they are often great athletes. It's like rolling the dice with many of these guys though, because they've got bad habits due to poor upbringing and they get into trouble disproprotionate to their numbers in the student body. Often they aren't real interested in school so grades become a problem as well. If Clark and Toussaint are found guilty, I think Coach Hoke will do the right thing and show them the exit door. The University has got its reputation to protect as well.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Inner city kids is a poor descriptor for college athletes who have problems.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

What's an outer city kid like?

Steve McQueen

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

Good post. Every program. EVERY PROGRAM has inner city kids. That is one of the beautiful things about college athletics: It gives inner city kids a chance for hope. Coach Hoke knows this and will do what is right for the kids.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

Hoke will not let their deeds go unpunished! Toussaint and Clark will at the very least sit out the first half! It's low Tide ! Go blue! T.I.M

Steve McQueen

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:48 a.m.

The odds of Frank Clark playing vs. Alabama are slim to none. His hearing wont be until well after the game. He is facing serious charges.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:10 a.m.

Tousaint doesn't start , but plays in Alabama game. Frank Clark is a goner..

Steve McQueen

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 7:59 a.m.

I have some news for you NoWay...are you ready? Here it is: At this point in time, Coach Hoke does not need to tell you, the press, me, or especially Nick Saban who is playing...and who is not. Did you catch that?


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 6:02 a.m.

Call them "haters" all you want, but you know damn well there's nothing that could be going on behind the scenes that should allow Fitz to play in the Alabama game. You drink and drive but don't miss a single game because the next game just happens to be important? What kind of message are you sending?

Steve McQueen

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.

I actually agree with you on Clark. Fitz...Im not so certain about. All of these Michigan hating people would LOVE to see him play so that they can point fingers at Coach Hoke and make irrational statements, not really understanding what really happened behind the scenes with Fitz's discipline. These same haters would LOVE to not see Fitz play because they know that he is an excellent RB and can do damage vs. Alabama. Regardless of either of these situations happening....Michigan has some fine talent at RB in Rawls, Hayes, Hopkins, Vince etc... it may not even matter if Fitz plays... it really depends on how the OL does vs. Bama.

Scott Gibson

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 5:03 a.m.

The season is much more than the Alabama game. Teach him to be a man and a team player. If we lose, it will not be because of one player. It is a team game. In the end, we win by recruiting and teaching boys to become men and team players.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:49 a.m.

I'd bet anything that The Brand has his hand in this decision, and that's why there's no decision yet.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:35 a.m.

I think Hoke Should punish these guys By making them play. Running the ball into alabama's defense may be considered cruel and unusual. I just hope denard comes back from Dallas in one piece.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:22 a.m.

Whatever happens, there are no cover ups, pay for play, pay for non- existent jobs, gas money from mafioso boosters, hooker boat parties for the players, and the president saying "gee I hope coach Hoke doesn't fire me". We're not OSU, Miami of Florida, or USC . So either way Michigan football and Brady Hoke are OK by me. But if they screw up again they should get thrown off the team. Stonum was a case study on one too many chances. My motives for wanting a clean coach are purely selfish. The day Michigan plays by those rules I'll lose interest. Winning when you cheat is like kissing your sister.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

Hoke is obviously lying cuz it is all about disrupting Bama's game preparation a bit. When someone steals something by breaking in, he or she must be suspended or at least kicked off from the team, period, no buts and ifs.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

I think Cousin's said it best. "It is a privilege to play football in the Big Ten. And with this privilege comes responsibility, in fact, greater responsibility." He drank alcohol, got into a vehicle, drove, and got caught. Not much more to it. It is not jumping the gun, it is doing what's right. Holding these men accountable. And I don't want to hear "a college kid who made a mistake." He's 22 years old. A man. You want to be a Michigan Man, act like one.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

Well, you might not, Mike. But there are others out in the world who actually DO believe in due process. The fact of the matter is you're right -- Hoke is not under the same restrictions as the judicial system. But jumping the gun is something these college coaches don't want to do, and IMO, shouldn't do. That's why I have no problem with how Hoke is handling this nor for that matter how Dantonio has handled transgressions at MSU. Ultimately, people are crying because he's not telling the media (and fans). Well, those folks can get over it. As long as these coaches are communicating with their teams and, specifically, the parties in question, they've fulfilled their most important responsibilities.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

A football coach can do whatever he wants to do. I love when people throw the whole "due process" into it. So if a football player is being charged with rape or murder, we would have to wait for the verdict, right?

Blue Marker

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

Have you ever heard of a thing called due process?


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:06 a.m.

Hoke's merit is under the spotlight......


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 2:29 a.m.

He drank, he drove, he should sit the Alabama game. There is nothing to decide here.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

Johnny those guys are probably worth about a 2-3 game swing together. Every coach knows hoow important it is to win. Those few wins may keep him off of the hot seat or may mean a raise at the end of the season. It is a tightrope to walk especially with all the BS that is going on in CFB right now. His coach speak has led us to believe that both will be reinstated at the last minute before the UA/UM game though. Personally I would reinstate Toussaint after his court date, and the other guy would have a long way to go before he got reinstated. Home invasion is a big deal. So is DWI/DUI, but making an impaired decision to drive when you shouldn't is much different in my book than making the decision to walk in someone's home while they are there and taking whatever you want.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

He had a BAC of .12 and he blew through a red light at a busy intersection. He endangered lives. .12 isn't falling down drunk, but it's pretty drunk. He had to have 9 or 10 beers/drinks over a 3 hour period to get to .12. Clark stole a laptop, he should be off the team already IMO. If both play this season, Hoke has set a terrible precedent. The arrests of Jerald Robinson and Will Campbell were no big deals and he could handle them in house. Josh Furman also turned out to be no big deal. Stonum was probably given 1 too many chances to earn his way back on the active roster. Marvin Robinson was arrested and traveled with the team a couple days later, but his case turned out to be a "misunderstanding". Hoke still has a chance to set a precedent with these 2 we'll see what he does. If Michigan would have went 5-7 last year, the alumni and fanbase would be all over Hoke about all of these arrests, but winning takes the focus off from off field stuff, but it still matters just the same.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

You think it's "more OK" to steal from someone than it is to drive a vehicle with a .08 BAC?


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:47 a.m.

No, it's not. Stealing is not worse than endangering lives, which Fitz did.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:59 a.m.

Although the theft part by Clark is far worse than Fitz's. Still you got my vote.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 12:50 a.m.

"They've both got an oar." I love it.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Rowers don't have to have two oars when they are on a team Nick. So Hoke's analogy was that the two were in the same boat and each had an oar, but they were not in the same boat as the team, pulling together toward a common goal. That is why they have to change boats to pull in the right direction with the team. Them having an oar signifies that they still have the opportunity to contribute or even carry the team. They just have to show that they are on the team boat. OK, gotcha

Nick Baumgardner

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

When I asked whether or not both players were still looking for their other oar, he replied: "They've got to change boats." So there's your daily Brady Hoke boating lesson.


Wed, Aug 22, 2012 : 4:25 a.m.

It was a great line. Hoke is a real mensch.