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Notebook: Quarterback not decided for Ohio State, Toussaint undergoes surgery

Erin Kirkland/Daily
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By Luke Pasch, Daily Sports Editor
Published November 19, 2012

With Michigan coach Brady Hoke reserving details about senior quarterback Denard Robinson’s progress in healing from an elbow injury, it’s anybody’s guess who will start at quarterback this Saturday against Ohio State.

Robinson took the field last Saturday against Iowa in his final appearance at Michigan Stadium, lining up most plays in either the backfield or the slot. He did take some snaps at quarterback from the shotgun, but didn’t attempt a pass.

Junior quarterback Devin Gardner played at quarterback for most of the game, and he looked impressive, throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns in addition to rushing for three more.

On Monday, Hoke said he doesn’t know yet who will start at quarterback in Columbus.

“I’d say probably — Denard continues to get better every day — I would say it’s probably up in the air.”

Regardless, Hoke said he is happy that both Gardner and Robinson will be on the field together in some capacity, as both have proven that they are effective quarterbacks and position players. Before Robinson injured himself at Nebraska, Gardner had been lining up at wide receiver.

“Well, I think it helps our football team,” Hoke said. “When we moved Devin, and he wanted to move to wide receiver, we were helping our football team because you’re putting your best 11 on the field. I think Denard fits in that either as a quarterback or as a slot receiver or wherever it may be.”

Hoke did not say whether he would still start Gardner at quarterback if Robinson’s elbow is fully healed come Saturday.

FITZ UNDERGOES SURGERY: Early in the game against Iowa, redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was tackled out of bounds on the right sideline, and his left ankle got caught under a rolling defender.

He needed to be carted off the field, and it was clear that the injury was serious.

Over the weekend, Toussaint underwent surgery to repair the apparent ankle injury, and he was released from the hospital on Monday.

“Fitz had surgery, went very well,” Hoke said. “Saw him (on Sunday) ... (and he) should have a full recovery. And we’ll move forward and he’ll move forward. But everything went well, as well as it can as far as having an injury. No one wants that for a kid.”

Hoke said he thinks that Toussaint will be ready for the start of next season, but for now, the injury presents an opportunity for sophomore running back Thomas Rawls to see more time in the backfield.

Against Iowa, Rawls picked up just 22 yards on eight carries, but Hoke said he still likes what he’s seen out of the young back.

“There’s so much more to (the running game) when you’re looking at backside reads on linebackers, you’re looking at pass protections, all the things that you have to do as a back,” Hoke said. “I think that’s where Thomas as grown the most.”

Gardner also has full confidence in Rawls being able to fill in.

“He has to be ready, and I feel like he is,” Gardner said.

MORGAN IS BACK:Sophomore outside linebacker Desmond Morgan sat out against Iowa with an undisclosed injury, but Hoke says he’ll be ready to go for Ohio State.

The week before, against Northwestern, Morgan took a hard block toward the end of the game and was not on the field during the last series. Freshman linebacker James Ross III filled in for Morgan against the Hawkeyes. Ross led the team with 12 tackles, nine of which were solo.

“I thought James, I think from day one, we thought he was instinctive and a good football player,” Hoke said. “It doesn’t surprise you that he has good instincts. He sees things well and he likes to tackle.”

Even though Morgan should be full go for Saturday, Ross’s solid performance against Iowa provided reassurance that Michigan’s linebacking corps has good depth should somebody go down again.