Wolverines support suspended teammates

Brady Hoke stopped short of saying Fitzgerald Toussaint's indefinite suspension for DUI would include the season opener against Alabama. Leon Halip/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- As running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark remain indefinitely suspended from Michigan’s football team for legal transgressions, their teammates said they will support them as best they can.

“Obviously there are standards Michigan football players have to live by and they just made some poor decisions,” fifth-year senior safety Jordan Kovacs said. “I don’t know exactly what the whole scenario is there, but the biggest thing is we’ve got to let those guys know we’re still there for them.

“We’re a brotherhood and we’re with those guys through thick and thin. Things aren’t going to be easy for them, but we’re going to be there for them.”

Toussaint was arrested last weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence, including a .12 on a Breathalyzer test. Clark was charged last month with second-degree home invasion, a felony, in connection with the theft of a Macbook Air laptop from a Stockwell Hall dorm room.

Both are still suspended, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said, and will “pay the price for poor judgments” before making a decision on their futures “down the road.”

Until then, Michigan has to replace its best rusher not named Denard Robinson and a potential starter at defensive end.

Brennen Beyer will likely slide in to replace Clark, but the situation is not quite as clear at running back. Sophomores Thomas Rawls and Justice Hayes along with senior Vincent Smith will likely compete for carries in Toussaint’s absence.

Despite Michigan’s mantra that the expectation is for positions instead of players, losing those two players hurts.

“Whatever happens, whenever anybody is suspended for any part of the time, whether it is the third-string guy or first-string guy, it’s really going to affect this team,” senior offensive lineman Taylor Lewan said. “If Fitz were not to play or whatever were to happen to him, it’s coach Hoke’s decision, I think the running backs we have now would do a great job coming in.

“Thomas Rawls is an absolute beast. I know he’s great. Vincent Smith is, by far, the toughest guy on our team, pound-for-pound, without a doubt. Justice Hayes is a great player. We have plenty of guys. So I’m not worried about our team at all.”