ANN ARBOR -- Who says hard work doesn’t pay off?
Just over nine months after breaking his leg against Iowa on Nov. 17, 2012, redshirt senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is back at No. 1 on the depth chart, according to Michigan coach Brady Hoke.
While Hoke didn’t say Toussaint was going to start against Central Michigan in U-M’s home opener on Aug. 31. Hoke did say that Toussaint has separated himself from the rest of the running backs after the team scrimmaged in Michigan stadium on Saturday night.
“The other night on Saturday it was great to get him back in the stadium and great to see him run and do some things he did protection wise, running the ball wise -- he looks good,” said Hoke.
“If we’re going to get technical about it -- Fitz would be the starter,” Hoke later confirmed.
Toussaint was expected to be challenged by Scout’s No. 1 RB and incoming freshman Derrick Green as well as freshman RB DeVeon Smith – But both have been limited due to freshman class schedule conflicts limiting their reps.
“Derrick has had limited practice,” Hoke said. “A lot of those guys finish school when they finish school. And so he hasn’t had as many reps. He has a bit of an ankle early. So we just have to get him more reps.”
Hoke said Toussaint’s mind frame changed right after the Iowa game last season.
“You know the challenge for him started after the Iowa game,” Hoke said. “ ‘I want to get back. I’ve got to get back and how am I going to get back?’ I can tell you he was here every day.”
Hoke continued: “I think there is a clear separation that Fitz is the guy.”
And the hard work is paying off.
Scrimmage Under the Lights
U-M scrimmaged in Michigan stadium on Saturday in preparation for their primetime game against Notre Dame on Sep. 7.
It was Michigan’s first team scrimmage, too.
“I don’t know if I feel better … I like how they went about their business on Saturday,” Hoke said. “And it’s just not what they did up there (at the Big House.) It’s how they prepared to go up there. Because when you go up to that stadium, that’s a game day experience.”
Did the scrimmage solidify who the starters will be against CMU on Aug. 31?
“I think we’re close,” Hoke said. “But I don’t think it’s the right time to say ‘this guys is the guy'.’"
On Monday Michigan went on a team bowling trip.
“Well, No. 1 you see the non-athletes we have,” Hoke replied. “No, they have been working hard. (They’ve) had 17 days or 18 days of practice of getting after it. To get their minds and have some fun – it just seemed like a good idea.”
Hoke said freshman quarterback Shane Morris was limited in Saturday’s scrimmage. He noted that it was nothing too serious and that he'd hurt his finger on his throwing hand.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Amara Darboh and redshirt linebacker Allen Gant were other noteworthy injuries from Saturday’s scrimmage, but are not deemed serious.