Monday, July 23, 2012

Fitz Toussaint Arrested, Suspended, And Leaving Questions For Michigan

Michigan runningback Fitzgerald Toussaint was arrested Saturday evening in Saline, Michigan on a DUI charge.

Toussaint rushed onto the scene a year ago for the Wolverines in the backfield in the middle of the season, becoming the team's second leading rusher behind Denard Robinson with 1,041 yards and nine TDs on 187 carries.

"Fitz made a poor decision and has been suspended indefinitely because of that action," coach Brady Hoke said in a statement Monday. "There are expectations that come with being a football student-athlete at the University of Michigan and those responsibilities were not met in this instance. We will use this as an opportunity to educate Fitz and make sure he understands the high standards that we have established within our program."

According to a police report, Toussaint ran a red light in Saline, MI and was then pulled over by police. Police Chief Larry Hrinik and other Saline officers were working a high-visibility enforcement at the time.

"The officers could smell intoxicants on his breath," Hrinik said. "They had him take a PBT (preliminary breath test) and ended up arresting him and brought him back here to process him."

Toussaint was released Sunday morning on bond and is reportedly being very cooperative with police. There is no court date set at this time.  This is a big letdown for a player that had a good chance at being 2nd team All-Big Ten and one of the better offensive players in the conference.  Fitz, coupled with Denard, made a dynamic rushing duo last year and with another year of experience, had the potential to be even more lethal this season.

However, Michigan is going to have to look down the depth chart for next season as few, if any, suspect that Fitz will be playing to start the year.  Perhaps later on, but not for awhile.  Rawls is the main back that comes to mind, but Vincent Smith has a great deal of experience and could play a bigger role now that Fitz is gone. Smith had some great games last year, especially against Eastern Michigan, and is set-up for a good senior season next year.  With Fitz gone, one of these two, if not both, really need to make some strides if this offense will keep pace with last year's team.

This is no way is a devastating loss to a team with pretty good running back depth right now, but it's not something that fans ever like to see and will be a setback for the Wolverines to overcome.  With a brutal schedule and some serious depth issues, especially on offensive line, returning any player is important.  Now that Fitz is gone, for at least awhile, Michigan will have to find answers elsewhere, but I think they should be ok as long as Rawls or Smith can make an impact, which I expect to happen.

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