Redshirt sophomore Fitzgerald Toussaint stood in the backfield to Denard Robinson’s and as the quarterback took the snap, Toussaint ran right, taking the handoff. As he sprinted up field, he looked like the blur of speed and toughness that he’s been hyped to be for two years now.
Toussaint found a whole bunch of green grass on the right side and sped past a few linebackers and down the field.
It may have just been one snap in practice. But it was the first snap from scrimmage in Tuesday’s practice. And when you’re locked in a tight position battle four days before Michigan’s season opener, everything counts.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke said on Monday that it could be either Toussaint or senior running back Mike Shaw who starts Saturday against Western Michigan. And offensive coordinator Al Borges said Tuesday that the decision probably won’t be made until game time.
“They’re still competing and going hard after that starting position,” Borges said. “It’s kinda fun to watch them, because they know that it’s pending.”
Borges said that if one of the two gets “hot” on Saturday, then he’s going to stick with the guy who’s rolling. It might take just that — actual game action — to decide which of the two backs in actually better. Borges is not a fan of the running back-by-committee and really would like to feed one back for the majority of the game, only to spell him now and then.
“If he’s feeling it, and we’re gaining yardage, then we’re going to give him a chance to gain a little momentum,” Borges said of whoever gets rolling. “Like most good backs do.”
Stonum sits out: One is the loneliest number. That’s what Darryl Stonum is experiencing right now as he has to sit out the 2011 season having redshirted after his second DUI.
Stonum’s roommate, fifth-year senior wide receiver Junior Hemingway, said that he would imagine that it’s hard for Stonum to sit out and watch.
“I just have to be basically a brother to him,” Hemingway said. “Just keep his head on straight. And let him know, ‘He’ll be all right. We’ve got his back.’
“The good thing is that he’s still on this team. That’s the good thing.”
The Michigan trident: Michigan coach Brady Hoke is building his program on accountability and responsibility, so of course he is using the Navy SEALS to inspire his football team
As fifth-year senior defensive end Will Heininger explained it, Hoke taught the team all about the SEALS. Hoke had a relationship with the SEALS when he was coaching at San Diego State, and Hoke handed each player a trident — which is part of the SEALS image — last Friday afternoon. According to Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports, each had the player’s name and a message carved into it.
“We had a Navy SEAL come speak to the team early in camp,” Hoke said, per Fox Sports. “I’ve been talking to the team all camp about the things that bond and inspire Navy SEALs.”
Added Heininger: “There are some lessons that we can learn from what they do, and teamwork.”
Heininger said that the player’s hung their tridents from the ceiling of the team meeting room. The players seem to be embracing Hoke’s new idea.
“It’s just a reminder, everyday, that we can’t do it without each other,” Heininger said. “And that we’re all out there together.
Hail for an hour: Greg Mattison has coached with his friend Brady Hoke at other places, but he’s reminded Mattison time and time again why he’s the right man for the Michigan job leading up to their first game this Saturday.
Last week, Hoke started blaring the Michigan fight song out of his office. The sound echoed throughout Schembechler Hall. This week, he designated one hour — 1:30 to 2:30 — as the time he’ll play ‘The Victors’ every day, every week.
“We knew we had to come in and really have a high energy practice, and there we’ve got the fight song going upstairs for an hour, from 1:30 to 2:30 and I’m just bouncing in my office,” Mattison said.
“It’s blaring. I just kinda smiled and said, ‘Man, this guy’s really got it.’ ”