If things weren’t already going to be tough enough for the Michigan Wolverines going into their game Saturday against the Alabama Crimson Tide, they just got even tougher.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke suspended starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and backup defensive end Frank Clark for one game, and neither will be making the trip to Dallas. Toussaint plead guilty on Tuesday to a charge of operating a vehicle while visually impaired. The incident occurred in late July and the charge had been reduced from operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Clark, a sophomore, was charged in July with second-degree home invasion, which is a felony. He has been fighting for a starting defensive end position all preseason and was listed as the backup behind Jibreel Black.
Toussaint is the Wolverines’ No. 1 running back and rushed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns last season, so his loss is much more significant for Michigan as it puts even more pressure on quarterback Denard Robinson as Alabama’s defense will now be able to focus almost solely on him. Sophomore Thomas Rawls and senior Vincent Smith should share time at running back in Toussaint’s absence. We may see Michigan air the ball out a little more as well now that their starting running back will not be playing. It may simply be out of necessity to avoid Robinson taking too many shots from the Alabama defense.
The suspension of both players prior to arguably one of the biggest games the Wolverines have played in recent history, says a lot about Hoke’s character and doing what’s right for the team going forward.