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

phork

August 13th, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

He was redshirted.  Had he not shit the bed he would be your starting WR this year.  IMO he should have been kicked off the team when he was redshirted.  I am not nuts or trolling.  Redshirting someone who can then practice with the team and then start in a year where you conveniently need a WR is just a coincidence eh?

phork

August 13th, 2012 at 10:47 PM ^

What I am trying to tell you here, is that he was "suspended" for a year by being "red shirted".  Which meant he could practice with the team and not miss a beat after taking the year "off"  Its not like he was removed from the team until Fall Practice.

reshp1

August 13th, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

Stonum graduated last year, so that's at least one positive to come out of not kicking him off. What did get him kicked off ultimately was stupid, but it was also not alcohol related and by all accounts, he'd straightened himself out. So, I'm going to disagree with you on he should've been kicked off. Short of kicking him off, what would you had Hoke do? Sit him a year and trot him out during garbage time each game to ruin his eligibility? Calling a full year suspension a "redshirt" sounds pretty trollish to me.

M-Wolverine

August 14th, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

And how you haven't been banned boggles the mind since you don't contribute anything but defending Floyd.

As a coming senior in school, how would you like to have been on pace for graduation and a high paying job, but told no, you have to stay another year, don't get to play, leave with your peers, and you have to not make a single mistake the whole year...to get the chance to come back and play a year later?

I think you play too many video games if you think redshirting, as you put it, as a senior isn't a big deal. But that may be the sum total of your football knowledge.

BiSB I don't know why you argue with him and don't just get rid of him.

CJK5H

August 13th, 2012 at 10:52 AM ^

Try not to overreact here but aren't we in the middle of teaching PSU that football isn't all powerful.  I am not trying to compare the two incidents, I'm just pointing out that football isn't all powerful, Fitz blew over the legal limit, it seems pretty simple that he needs to be punished, and not just extra running. Clark OTOH may be inocent, thats one that you will have to let the legal system work out.

BiSB

August 13th, 2012 at 11:02 AM ^

PSU's "football culture" issue was that they shielded someone from civilian (criminal and civil) punishments to further football interests. There has been no attempt to shield Fitz from the civilian authorities here; he'll still be punished by the courts as he would have been if he was John Q. Drunkdriver. The only question left are the ADDITIONAL football-related punishments.

Also, trying to draw a comparison between a DUI and decades worth of child rape will inevitably fall on deaf ears.

CJK5H

August 13th, 2012 at 11:10 AM ^

Yea Im aware, and Im surprised I havn't been negged to hell yet, I did clearly state that I wouldn't try and compare those two incidents, I was only saying that Fitz was caught over the limit, he could have seriously hurt someone or himself.  I think MIPs and other laws that really don't affect peoples safety can be dismissed as kids being kids. Driving over the limit affects peoples lives, it is not something to be taken lightly.

 

 

EastUGoBlue

August 13th, 2012 at 10:52 AM ^

DUIs are too commonly grouped together in their public perception.  In no way do I support drinking and driving. However, there is a big difference in potential harm to yourself/other drivers between driving home at 2AM from a bar doing 20MPH over the speed limit and blowing a .24, as opposed to driving home from dinner with your girlfriend and blowing a .11 after accidentally turning the wrong way down a one-way side street.

Fitz should absolutely be punished but the punishment should reflect how severe his crime was. If the severity of the arrest was closer to the second example, I think missing even a majority of the Alabama game would be a tad much.  Granted, I can understand the other view point.

AAB

August 13th, 2012 at 11:03 AM ^

but this comment is a good example of why I think it's important for Hoke to suspend Fitz for Alabama.  Driving with a .11 BAC is really fricking dangerous, and it's disturbing how many people don't realize that.  

cp4three2

August 13th, 2012 at 11:07 AM ^

The .08 limit is an arbitrary number. I work in public policy and I have seen numerous studies that show that there really isn't any increase in any risk of being in an accident between .08 and .12, which if I remember correctly was where his BAC was. That's about 4 or 5 beers over a 3 or 4 hour span.

 

No political leader in their right mind would ever oppose MADD though, so it's .08. (And no, I'm not making a value judgement on MADD, which is a fine organization). It's just the reality of the situation. 

 

I trust that Hoke will make his punishment fit the crime. 

reshp1

August 13th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

It does actually, that's why it's a percentage. It allows a 300lb linemen to drink three times as much as 100lb petite girl. As far as metabolic rate, not sure why that matters since it's the level you blow when you get pulled over (technically at the station, but still). 

SysMark

August 13th, 2012 at 11:01 AM ^

I'm sure he'll sit at least the first half, probably the whole game, but there's no reason to tell Saban that now.  Saban will assume he will play because that's what he would probably choose were he in Hoke's position.  Let him prepare for that and also any alternative.

WolverineHistorian

August 13th, 2012 at 11:07 AM ^

When all those LSU players got in a bar fight last year a couple weeks before the season started, didn't Les still start them in that huge opener against Oregon?  I think they all served their suspended game against Northwestern State in game 2. 

But I'd like to think we are above that kind of tactic.  Damn, Fitz.  Why did you have to drive drunk?  I hate that we even have to talk about this with football season approaching.   

Perkis-Size Me

August 13th, 2012 at 11:12 AM ^

I trust Hoke to make the right decision, but if it were me, I wouldn't play him for the Alabama game, maybe even a game or 2 after that as well. Something tells me that Fitz simply running stairs and staying late after practice wouldn't help him understand the gravity of his choice to drive drunk that night. Fitz has a child. He should know better.

I have to admit that I'd be pretty disappointed in Hoke if he played Fitz. After everything that has happened in the college football world this past year, I think its imperative that Hoke sends a message and says crap like this will not be tolerated, and there are serious consequences.

But, this is one man's opinion, and I'm not the coach. On a more football-related note, suspending Fitz for the Alabama game and playing Rawls instead shouldn't change our game plan. No one beats Alabama in a ground-and-pound style of game. Denard will have to beat them with his arm, regardless of who is in the backfield with him.

MGlobules

August 13th, 2012 at 11:20 AM ^

his otherwise-annoying article this morning, almost despite itself, points to the very serious lead lining that playing Toussaint may carry. 

Like a lot of other people here I have been groping for weeks for some rationale that might see Toussaint and Clark play. (My best attempt, which I am too lazy to dig up: it happened some time before the season started and Hoke could well carry out an appropriate punishment in the meantime.) 

But even IF that's a plausible case (and depending especially on other unknowns in the case it may be), I see a certain kind of ugly that may come from it. Mgobloggers can work out a lot of the scenarios themselves, but let's just say that people like Sharp are looking forward to crying foul and hypocrisy if Toussaint plays. . . and laughing their asses off if it makes no difference in the outcome anyway. In fact, half of the world outside of the Michigan community is ALWAYS looking for such signs.

And if Toussaint plays AND Michigan gets whipped--both possible outcomes, even the most hardened homer would agree--it looks like all downside to me.

If Rawls is as advertised I say play him. When Toussaint comes back two great backs would be a wonderful problem to have. Win or lose to Alabama, already drowing in its own high crimson tide of hypocrisy, Michigan builds from there.

Would love to hear whether others here agree.

P.S. I still feel like scheduling this game was a miscalculation on Brandon's part; hope I am totally wrong! 

Section 1

August 13th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

Sharp; there was nothing there.  It wasn't a good column; nor was it completely wrong.  It was nothing.  Speculation about what might happen, what Hoke might or might not do, and whether it might be good or might be bad.  It isn't even a meaningful attempt at influencing a future decision, because Sharp isn't even good enought to do that.  Nobody cares about Sharp.  He's not smart enough to hurt Michigan (unlike his current/former colleagues), and he doesn't write compellingly enough to convince anyone of anything.  He's just a professional annoyance.  Provocation, as a business model.  Sportstalk radio, in a print form.  A waste of time.

MGlobules

August 13th, 2012 at 12:29 PM ^

I take pains to make a carefully considered point and then get negged. . . just because someone doesn't like the implications. I took pains to say that Sharp is an ass but the article shows how Michigan may suffer still more if Toussaint plays and we lose. This is not really such a wild surmise. 

The general tenor of comments here this a.m. seems to be the usual rose- or blue colored glasses where Michigan is concerned. Maybe a certain amount of hypocrisy just comes with the territory, recent lessons or not. 

If this place really HAD mods then carefully argued positions wouldn't get hidden, though. I hope I'm wrong and can't come back to say that I told everyone so. 

Monocle Smile

August 13th, 2012 at 12:39 PM ^

Don't whine about points...especially when your "carefully considered point" is just bullshit with a lot of words. Your post did not appear to be carefully considered and didn't add anything to the discussion. The entire thing was material that has been discussed and rehashed ad nauseum...and your little P.S. has been quantitatively analyzed in past diaries.

Protip #2: don't whine about the mods.

M-Wolverine

August 14th, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

It's your own fault, right?  You can set the point viewing threshold to -1 so they all appear. It's not like it's gone from existence.  Just means someone who even has it grayed out just has to click on it.  If they want to read it, they still can. If they don't, well, none of these posts from anybody, me included and primarily, are so important that anyone is really missing out by not seeing it.

EJG

August 13th, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

One of Coach Hoke's prime responsibilities is to keep the kids motivated on and off the field.  What motivates Fitz?  What motivates Clark?  What makes any of us think we know better than a coaching staff that interacts with these two kids every day?  In theory, because I have no idea what has been communicated to Fitz and Clark, telling the kids they may play against Alabama will make sure they show up to practice everyday prepared to give their best effort. Isn't that what you want out of your team?  The decision can come later, even during the game if need be.

MGlobules

August 13th, 2012 at 11:24 AM ^

we have a right to weigh in on what we feel should happen, and to care about the moral implications of such actions, especially in a climate like the one college football currently prevails in. Heiko may have erred in suggesting that we are on the team, but as a tax-paying grad, I certainly consider myself a nominal part-owner. :) And--hell--that's what boards like this are for.

Blind loyalty should be no one's thing after PSU. A second-year coach is bound to sit under a spotlight. Despite the good will and success he has to now generated, that remains a good thing. 

reshp1

August 13th, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

I agree with you but it's also what motivates everyone else on the team and future players. Hoke needs to set a good precedence* that this doesn't fly on his team so the next time someone thinks about getting behind the wheel after drinking, they know they could be costing themselves playing time. Playing time isn't the end all be all for players, but I gotta think, especially for starters that have put in a ton of work to get it, it's as good of a blanket  motivator as anything.

*I know he did already with Stonum, but there was a history there before he got here. I think how he deals with this will send a strong message to the team one way or the other.

LB

August 13th, 2012 at 11:23 AM ^

the relationship of misdeeds to punishments, especially with regards to the number of games that must be missed for a given transgression.

BeatOSU52

August 13th, 2012 at 11:44 AM ^

What are the chances Fitz sits sits the first half or quarter and then plays the rest of the game?  It seems a lot has been debating whether he plays the whole game or doesn't play at all, but this seems like a reasonable possibility IMO.

StephenRKass

August 13th, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

Sitting a half or quarter and playing the 2nd half? I've thought of that too. In one way, it would be nice. It would hurt to sit the first halpf, be public, and yet Fitz would be able to play. 

However, in this case, I don't think it would be enough, for several reasons.

  1. Seriousness of the charge. As noted by multiple posters, a DUI is significant, and can't be ignored or brushed under the rug.
  2. Precedent. As a relatively new coach, Hoke has to set a clear precedent on how he deals with this kind of charge. This because important for the rest of the team.
  3. Consistency & lack of favoritism. If this happens with a senior starter, it certainly will happen with everyone else.
  4. Perception. At this point, I believe that it is important in the inevitable comparisons to MSU, ND, OSU, & PSU (let alone the SEC et al.) It is important that Hoke do the right thing because many detractors are watching.

There is one silver lining I can see as regards suspending Fitz for at least one full game, if not two, and it has to do with the issue of perception. Being suspended the entire Alabama game puts Michigan and the fan base in a much better place when a starter on one of our opponent's teams faces the same charge. I hate it when someone says, "everyone does it, and everyone gets off the hook." I would hate it even more if Dantonio or Meyer or Kelly could say, "We're doing exactly the same thing Hoke did:  suspending our starter for a quarter of a game."

Firstbase

August 13th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

...how much more serious DUI's are now than when I was younger. Crap, when I moved to Texas in the early 80's it was legal to drink and drive! We often did, too! We'd stop at the local convenience store on the way home from work and buy beer and drink it on the way home!

No joke!

LB

August 13th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

Drunk driving has been turned into an industry. As a consequence, I have to worry if I should actually decide to go wild and have two beers with dinner. Thinking about a shot of scotch makes me feel like a regular revolutionary.

Before any of the you concerned types decide to start telling me how many people are killed by drunks, let me get that out of the way for you. My mother was killed by a drunk driver when I was 14. His money (attorneys) had allowed him to continue driving despite having multiple, multiple items on his record when it was finally "found". If you think that has changed today, I'd love to offer you the bridge I just happen to own that spans the moat into Ft. Schembechler.

Ron Utah

August 13th, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

Is a pretty stupid thing to do, and is easily avoided.

I will be very disappointed if he doesn't miss some game time.  Any athlete knows that's the ulitmate punishment (as far as sports go).  Sprints, stairs, community service, etc...yeah, that's all good too, but taking away playing time is the most severe penalty.  And I think it's a penalty Fitz has earned in this case.

DenardsThirdHeisman

August 13th, 2012 at 12:21 PM ^

So with this, plus seven other arrests since Hoke took over that shining beacon of morality in Ann Arbor, are you guys finally going to stop the false pretense that you're somehow different than any other college football program when it comes to the law?

 

Also, I might add that UM's academic standards for athletes are the NCAA minimum. Not that it's related, but I thought I might deal a double dose of reality while I'm here.

Perkis-Size Me

August 13th, 2012 at 1:01 PM ^

It still sends, more or less, the same message as if he were never suspended at all. Knock on wood, but Michigan should be able to win those two games, and having Fitz in or not should be somewhat inconsequential. It sends a much stronger message to bench your starting RB for arguably the most important game on the schedule, and unquestionably the most difficult one.

Let's say Fitz got benched for those 2 games against Air Force and UMass, and Michigan won big in both of them, which they very well could. Fitz would rest pretty easy at night knowing that he was never really needed to win those games. If Rawls played well in those games, Fitz could fall back on the belief that "Well, those were crap teams. Let's see how he'd do against real competition." Yeah, it'd suck for him to not play, but not much would change.

For benching him against Alabama, he will have to languish sitting on the sideline, or back in Ann Arbor in front of a television, knowing that he should have been an integral part in helping his team win that game. He'll also have to deal with the fact that its a big prime-time game that he will have zero part in, he won't receive any national attention that isn't negative, he will have blown a chance to showcase his potential NFL talents to a national audience, and perhaps worst of all, he may very well have to watch Thomas Rawls take his starting job away from him, depending on how well he performs. If Rawls turns into a key component in that game and helps Michigan win, I think Fitz could kiss his starting job good-bye. All because he made an idiotic, life-threatening choice to drunk drive.

Trust me, those thoughts should be punishment enough to make a kid never want to put his future, and the future of others, in jeopardy by drunk driving again. And if they don't, then he will never learn, and he probably shouldn't be playing football.

StephenRKass

August 13th, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

I always am cynical when a coach sits someone for a game that doesn't matter, but makes sure they can play for the important games. This reminds me of the Ohio suspensions that fell mostly on MAC level non-conference games.

And yes, for Fitz to stay in Ann Arbor, and for Rawls to do well, would be huge in punishment. If a coach really wants for a suspension to hurt, it has to include consequences that hurt. I don't know if I read it above, but part of the pain is that Fitz's punishment hurts the team. You have let your brothers down. I hope that that gets to him.

As a side note, it simply is unfortuante that our first game was against Alabama. If we were playing Air Force to start, and Alabama as the second game, I would be fine with having Fitz sit for Air Force, and be thankful he was available for Alabama. But that isn't how the cookie crumbles.

WolvinLA2

August 13th, 2012 at 12:30 PM ^

My 2 cents - guys who get a first offense DUI, unless they blow Kevin Grady type numbers and as long as they've been well behaved before, shouldn't miss game time. This is not because I think drunk driving isn't a bad thing. And I don't think the coach should sweep it under the rug either.

This team has prepared very hard for this season, and for this game in particular. Sitting Fitz punishes all those guys nearly as much as it does Fitz himself. Unless a kid shows he can't learn from his mistakes (Stonum) I don't think missing game time is necessary.

Perkis-Size Me

August 13th, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

This is just my opinion, but if Hoke really wants to practice what he preaches with regards to accountability, he will bench Fitz for the Alabama game. It shouldn't matter that he's a first-time offender. Driving drunk once is one time too many. He put his life, and the lives of others, in a lot of danger. People make mistakes, and I'm no saint, but Fitz made a pretty damn big mistake. Sometimes the only way people learn from those kinds of mistakes is to take away from them what's most important.

We all talk about how "This is Michigan, fergodsakes." We like to think we set the bar in terms of what our school, and athletic department stand for, and how other schools should emulate what we do. Hoke can make a pretty strong statement in favor of that by benching Fitz.

Again, just my opinion. Take it for what its worth.

 

jcorqian

August 13th, 2012 at 8:35 PM ^

It's a team though.  When one person screws up, they all screw up.  His actions affect the team.  It's unreasonable to argue otherwise, fair or not.  Think of Sandusky's actions; they affected all of Penn State's current players who have absolutely nothing to do even with that era.  But that's the way life is.  There are consequences for your actions, and those consequences don't affect yourself but they affect others as well.