August 8, 2012

Train doesn't wait for the idle

Suspended redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is not practicing right now, according to U-M head coach Brady Hoke. That doesn't mean Denard Robinson is operating without weapons, a fact he was eager to point out.

On the one hand, Robinson feels for Toussaint, who has been suspended indefinitely following a DUI charge. Robinson noted commiserating with his fellow 1,000-yard rusher from last season.

"I've talked to him, and he knows that he wants to be out on the field," Robinson said. "He's going to do whatever it takes to get back on the field. I just can't wait."

But Toussaint has to wait, and there's an opportunity to be had in the meantime.

"We've got people to step in," Robinson said. "Those guys work as hard as he does. Those guys are ready to play, and they're looking forward to it."

The guy many are talking about, including Hoke, is sophomore back Thomas Rawls. Hoke reveals unbridled enthusiasm over the second-year performer, who operates with an edge when he's carrying the football.

"Rawls runs angry," Robinson said. "That's a tough guy. When he runs the ball, you'd better get out of the way. That's the kind of guy he is. He's an aggressive runner. If he sees a guy, he might just try and run him over."

Beyond Rawls, Michigan features some others pushing hard for time, Robinson noted. One of them has been competing with him at the quarterback spot for the past couple of years.

Devin Gardner remains one to watch, not only behind center, but also at a wideout, Robinson cautioned.

"He's a competitor," Robinson said. "He's going to do whatever it takes to get to that point. He's a phenomenal athlete. When he gets out there with the receivers, you'll think he's a receiver. He looks like he's been playing it for years. And when he plays quarterback, you can tell he's one of the top quarterbacks."

Meanwhile, include Robinson among those who have been impressed early on by rookie receiver Amara Darboh.

"He had a couple of catches that shocked us," Robinson said of the freshman. "He competed today. You could tell he wanted to play. A lot of freshmen are going to want to play this year, and they want to compete."

Toussaint obviously wants to compete. But while he sits, the show goes on, and others are getting the chance to show they're ready for a bigger spotlight.


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