By: Jeff Riger
As Michigan gets ready to head to Dallas to take on the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide, the football world is still forced to wonder if Wolverine running back Fitz Toussaint will be playing. Head coach Brady Hoke joined the “Stoney and Bill” show on Thursday, like he will every week at 9:10am and I had a chance to get some clarification about Toussaint and when a decision will be made?
“Before kickoff, I know that” Hoke said. “Right now we haven’t made a decision. There is a lot that these guys need to do to learn and teach life lessons and those kinds of things. You know there are always heavy consequences for these types of things and Fitz is going through that process” said Hoke.
As to how hard has the decision been?
Hoke said “I think it’s tough if you struggle with where your moral compass is. At the same time, these are kids from 18 to 23; they are going to make some mistakes. We don’t want them to, we don’t want them to make bad choices but there are always ramifications for bad choices that you make.”
So what does the above all mean? I have no clue!
Toussaint is listed as a starter on Michigan’s depth chart and usually that would mean that his team suspension for getting a D.U.I. would be over, however Hoke doesn’t seem willing to admit as much.
So we are left to speculate on our own.
I believe Toussaint will see time, not as a starter but at some point in the Alabama game. It doesn’t matter if the running back starts or comes in later, Michigan needs him and that is why Hoke will eventually, albeit maybe begrudgingly, use him.
Just because the running back plays doesn’t mean that he has not learned from his mistakes. There are still legal repercussions that Toussaint has to deal with along with the extra stress that has come his way during practice, conditioning and meetings as well. If what Toussaint has already been through doesn’t force him to think before getting behind the wheel drunk next time I don’t believe not playing in the season opener will change that.
And, there is another side.
If you believe Toussaint can help Michigan win this game, then isn’t it imperative that he plays? Believe what you choose, but winning is important, especially a game of this magnitude. If Toussaint doesn’t play, other players, coaches, fans and alumni suffer as well. I have heard that the absence of the best running back on the team will cause the players to come closer together, thus there is a better chance of beating the 2nd ranked team in the country. I don’t believe that, not for a second. If you ask me, the only way that Michigan beats Alabama is if the best players play, and nobody can deny that Toussaint is one of the best players.
If only caring about winning makes me selfish and stupid well, then I’m guilty. I’m not big about players learning lessons, sending the right message or playing up to the “We are Michigan” façade that some fans pound their chest and point to as a reason that the Wolverines are better than anybody else.
I care about W’s and I’m not alone, even if fans, coaches and media members might not admit it. Fitz should play, because, trust me, a Michigan upset win over Alabama will mean much more than the people who might claim that it came at the expense of team morals and virtues.
I think fans could deal with the name calling, they already do however if Michigan had a chance to win and they refused to use Toussaint to do so, well that’s something that would make, at least this fan extremely hard to handle.
What do you think?