Fitz being "prepared" to play Bama

Submitted by Phil Brickma on August 13th, 2012 at 10:10 AM

According to an AA.com article, no decision on Fitz has been made yet, but according to Fred Jackson, Hoke said to prepare Fitz as if he was going to play the season opener. Both Fitz and Clark return to practice today. Interesting to see how this thing plays out.

"Brady just said to prepare him, and that’s what we’re doing," running backs coach Fred Jackson said Sunday during the team's media day.

http://annarbor.com/sports/um-football/michigan-preparing-suspended-tailback-fitz-toussaint-as-though-he-will-play-against-alabama/[email protected]

 

Comments

uncleFred

August 13th, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

then he deserves appropriate punishment. The "fact" that he blew a .12 means nothing until that result is verified and tested in court. Machines and people can and do produce incorrect results.

Assuming that he is guilty of a DUI, driving under the influence is not black and white. There are many many shades of gray, the question is degree of impairment and actual results from the action. If the coaches think that it is in the team's and FItz's best interests then he should be allowed to pratice with the team. 

My personal opinion, based on what we know about the incident, is that, if found guilty of a DUI, Fitz should not be allowed to play for the first 2-3 games. That said, if the coaches make a different decision, I'll support it. 

Magnus, the 11,000 deaths from "alcohol-related" accidents staistic is misleading. That includes any accident where there was any detectable level of alcohol in the blood at all, not just cases where the driver was actually impaired or had a BAC over .08. Driving while impaired, whether by acohol or drugs, is a serious issue, but we would do better to focus on impairment, not a number when drafting and enforcing such laws.

pdgoblue25

August 13th, 2012 at 11:45 AM ^

This sets a horrible precedent that DUIs are ok if you're a starter. 

He should not play against Alabama, there needs to be consequences for doing something stupid that is life threatening to yourself, and everyone around you.

WolvinLA2

August 13th, 2012 at 8:16 PM ^

I don't think it sets that precedent at all.  Benching someone for a game is not the only manner of punishment for a football player, nor is it always the most appropriate or effective. 

I don't really think a precedent is set here at all, since every situation with every player will be different.  Maybe Fitz called Hoke himself, right away, so the coach heard it from him first, and felt terrible.  Maybe Fitz volunteered to come in early and run stairs knowing that what he did was wrong and to prove to the coach he realized this.  That should be punished differently than a kid who gets a DUI, tries to hide it from the coach, and just shrugs it off when the coaches find out.  We don't know all the details, so we can't say what sort of precedent is or isn't set. 

jaggs

August 13th, 2012 at 10:18 AM ^

really news IMO...isn't that what the coaches always do, prepare the players to play? Meet the expectation for the position? I'd be a little disappointed if they actually play vs Alabama.

Phil Brickma

August 13th, 2012 at 10:24 AM ^

He went from being held out of practice, to being "prepared" to play in the season opener. To me, it seems like something changed behind the scenes. Let alone, the fact Fred Jackson had some decent quotes on the matter.

wresler120

August 13th, 2012 at 10:20 AM ^

Kid made a mistake in the off season, and he will be punished by Hoke and by the legal system. But, it happened before the season so let him play. If he messes up again then it's big time punishment

LSA Aught One

August 13th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

The legal system may take away his license or give him some community service.  They are unlikely to do anything that will really get his attention.  If Hoke really wants to make sure that this doesn't happen again, he has to do more.  Otherwise, this sets the wrong example for the younger kids on the team.

NOLA Wolverine

August 13th, 2012 at 10:50 AM ^

So if he was a regular student with the same circumstances and he had a job instead of a stipend your answer would be the same? It's not like he has a huge amount of capital to move around to pay for all of the fees and fines related to a DUI offense from his scholarship.   If he was convicted he would need help from some other source of money, because his scholarship entitlements are not going to foot the bill. Kids are cheap anyways, right?

Phil Brickma

August 13th, 2012 at 10:22 AM ^

There is a lot we don't know about either case, so it doesn't make sense to rush to judgment. I agree there is no reason why these guys shouldn't practice. You know Hoke has these guys running stairs at 4 am everyday. It's not like they aren't seeing a punishment. We need to see what the courts say before we can form an educated opinion on the matter.

If Fitz is guilty of DUI, yeah, he should miss the Bama game. He probably should miss a couple of games. But we don't know what the courts are going to say, so we can't safely judge him yet.

Clark's case is even more ridiculous. He either could be cleared of any wrongdoing a la Josh Furman, or be kicked off the team. Who knows.

Jmilan

August 13th, 2012 at 10:29 AM ^

I just want you to know that I upvoted you just because of your name and avatar. Aside from that, I think Fitz unforunately should be suspended for at a game. You don't want a Michael Floyd situation where he doesn't miss any playing time. I know there was one Notre Dame fan on this blog that stated he wished Floyd would have at least missed a game because now Kelly looks like an idiot for not making him miss any time.

Jmilan

August 13th, 2012 at 10:43 AM ^

Yes that is true, but my thought was more a preventative action rather than a reactive action in hopes that it doesn't get to his 2nd or 3rd offense. If you set the tone early on punishment then hopefully it just doesn't happen again. I know that kids are going to screw up no matter how well the coaches punish or handle situations, but they can definitely limit these things. A game suspension may be a bit harsh, but it would definitely come across to the entire team if it already hasn't.

phork

August 13th, 2012 at 11:06 AM ^

The MIPs were off campus, out of school and at home.  The DUI was while he was at school and he was punished accordingly.  He did whatever Kelly set out for him to do to return for the fall season.  As I am sure as what will happen in this case is that you and I will not be privy to whatever it is that needs to be done.

Coming off high & mighty is a little played at this point.  Floyds DUI was in the spring, he was held out of spring practice, game and team functions from that point until he completed Kelly's plan.  Fitz was less than a month before opening day.

phork

August 13th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

The MIPs were off campus, out of school and at home.  The DUI was while he was at school and he was punished accordingly.  He did whatever Kelly set out for him to do to return for the fall season.  As I am sure as what will happen in this case is that you and I will not be privy to whatever it is that needs to be done.

Coming off high & mighty is a little played at this point.  Floyds DUI was in the spring, he was held out of spring practice, game and team functions from that point until he completed Kelly's plan.  Fitz was less than a month before opening day.

BiSB

August 13th, 2012 at 11:24 AM ^

We're not saying Floyd killed a guy with a trident and that Kelly subsequently handed him a hand grenade, but it's a really tough sell to claim that there was some big distinction here because you suspend a guy for a game AGAINST YOUR OWN TEAM.

Besides, does it really matter WHERE the MIPs were racked up? Had the DUI been in Floyd's home town, would that not make it Kelly's business?

Wolverine_in_MD

August 13th, 2012 at 10:28 AM ^

I trust Coach Hoke and the entire staff to do the right thing.  Having said that, this is a "perception becomes reality" issue.  If both are suspended for at least the Alabama game, then the perception is Coach Hoke values the education of these players more than winning a game. 

I know we need to let the courts sort this out, but I honestly believe they will both miss at least the Bama game, and Clark may not play til his case has been through the legal system.

Go Blue!

BiSB

August 13th, 2012 at 10:29 AM ^

Hoke may know what he's gonna do. He may have even told Fitz what he's gonna do. But that doesn't mean Nick Saban needs to know what Hoke is gonna do.

Punishment and gamesman are not mutually exclusive.

Sinsemillaplease

August 13th, 2012 at 10:31 AM ^

Hoke says he has not made a decision. Holding Fitz out of practices leading up to the game would prevent Fitz from being ready to play. That would essentially be a decision to sit him. Prepping him allows that decision to be made later. Seems simple enough to me. Not sure why anyone thinks practice indicates that he will play. Have they not heard of Marvin Robinson?

reshp1

August 13th, 2012 at 10:31 AM ^

I think he shouldn't play. I know it happened in the off-season, but it was close enough that I think missing a game or two is appropriate. If it happened in January it would be a different story, but given the circumstances losing playing time seems like the only appropriate punishment to a serious crime like DUI. This is Michigan fergodsakes.

CRex

August 13th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

Did the police ever release what he blew? If it turns out Fitz blew a .09 or a .085 I suddenly find myself not caring.  If he's more on the Stonum or Kevin Grady scale of DUI, then we have a problem if he fails to sit for at least 4 games.  A .09 though is 2 beers (gets you to .08) plus a sip or two of the new IPA your friend ordered.  Or just finishing off the last inch of your girlfriend's beer.

If nothing else allowing the player to associate with the team helps remind them what could be taken away from them.  So it gives them an incentive to straighten up and get back on the active roster.  I see no issue with letting him or Clark practice.  Although if Clark is found guilty of a felony, he needs to be shown the door.  Until then though, innocent until proven guilty.    

I3lackcell

August 13th, 2012 at 10:32 AM ^

I dont understand what is wrong with letting them play the game.  They made their mistakes MONTHS before the game.  Why is it that the only punishment that you are allowed to give them is missing a game?  I am sure there are tons of other things that can be done to make them learn a lesson.  Sure missing a game is big but it is also super delayed.  Along these lines it seems reasonable that if a player were to make a mistake celebrating a bowl game win that they would be suspended for the next seasons opener.

readyourguard

August 13th, 2012 at 10:32 AM ^

I know I'm not supposed to rush to judgement and I don't know the details of the case, but it's a fact that he was arrested for DUI.  Even if the Prosecutor offers and accepts a plea bargain, it doesn't change the fact that Fitz was busted.  For that, I would expect the punishment to be severe.  Missing the first game against Bama would be severe, imo.

BigBlue02

August 13th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

Is this really news? Why is this it's own thread? If we were 100% positive he wasn't playing against Alabama, was Hoke really going to prepare him any differently? "You were going to practice in full pads, but since you're sitting out week 1, let's just have you not practice until after the Alabama game. I don't want you prepared for the rest of the year

M-Wolverine

August 14th, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

Just from an inflamatory headline. No decision has been made. There's a pretty good chance we'll never hear about a decision. Players will or won't make the trip to Dallas.  Or might even make it and not get in the game.  We don't know anything yet. Having him not practice all of fall camp doesn't just hurt the team for his possible suspended game, but for the whole season. Per usually, let's jump off the cliff after we get to the edge.

maizenblue87

August 13th, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

I don't agree with comments that since Fitz's incident occurred in the offseason, game time shouldn't be impacted. If Hoke wants Fitz to think about his actions and deliver real consequences, a game situation hits home. It also underscores how each person is accountable to the team.

True Blue Grit

August 13th, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

Michigan right now, rather than just a simple disciplinary decision.  Up until now Hoke has pretty much done all the right things and enjoyed a stellar reputation in the media.  How he handles the decisions on these two players will certainly affect that reputation, whether he likes it or not.  In reading comments from a lot of people, it seems the majority of people believe they need to be suspended for at least the Alabama game.  Without having all the facts, I'm not going to judge his decision yet.  But, delaying making the decision for too much longer will not be positive from a PR standpoint.

readyourguard

August 13th, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

I don't think he's delayed the decision at all.  I'm sure he knows exactly what he's going to do.  He just isn't telling the media.  It's the same tact Lloyd and Bo used.  F the media.  Hoke doesn't owe them an explanation, or any damn thing at all.  Let idiots like Drew Sharp hop onto his soapboxes and proclaim Hoke soft on discipline.  He'll have egg on his face at the end of the day, imo.

BiSB

August 13th, 2012 at 10:54 AM ^

If he suspends him from the game, who will care that he didn't do so right away? If he announces a suspension right now, that looks even worse than if he made Fitz jump through the hoops (and up the stadium stairs) first before reinstating him.

I believe it is entirely appropriate to not announce phase 2 of the punishment until the end of phase 1 of the punishment. That's why you hold a parole hearing part way through the prison term rather than at the beginning.

Mattinboots

August 13th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

I don't think the delay is an issue at all because, unless I'm mistaken, the legal proceedings haven't finished yet.  If for some reason, albeit unlikely, Fitz gets off, he should only be sat the first series or so for allowing himself to get in trouble for a stupid reason in the first place (some might see this as harsh, but I think everyone who brings the football into a harsh light, barring rogue reporters, should be a bit punished).   

rlc

August 13th, 2012 at 10:50 AM ^

I think we can trust Hoke to do the right thing here. Last year he was very stern with Stonum and I don't see a track record of ignoring playing conduct issues for people to be upset about. Not defining a specific punishment or timetable is a great way to do this. Fitz has to earn it back. This method gives our coaches a way to evaluate if understands his mistakes and is making an honest effort to change. Even sitting him out for one game, two games, four games etc... Only sets a consequence, it does not necessarily provoke change in a meaningful way. I would say bravo for handling it in a way that can help improve the young man as a person. We can debate if it was enough after it is all said and done, although even then only people close the situation will probably know all details about the punishment.

rlc

August 13th, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

You are nuts, or a troll, or a trolling nut. Stonum never played for Michigan again in the end... He got a chance to improve himself as a person and he did not play a down for Michigan again. What is tougher than that? Would you kick the players with issues out the door without trying to help them? Is that better for you? I prefer our coaches treat our players as young men who make mistakes like anyone else and can benefit for guidance and discipline.