Fitzgerald Toussaint watched Michigan's 41-14 loss to Alabama with members of the wrong team.
By DAVE HOGGFS Detroit
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Fitzgerald Toussaint watched Michigan's 41-14 loss to Alabama with members of the wrong team.
Instead of being in Dallas with his teammates, Toussaint was back home, taking in the game along with members of the men's basketball team at assistant hoops coach's Bacari Alexander's house. Toussaint was suspended from the game after a July arrest on a drunk-driving charge.
"It meant a lot to me that they invited me over because they showed me that I'm still supported by the people on campus," Toussaint said Tuesday. "The basketball team has always been great to us, and I was glad to have the company.
"It was emotional to watch the game. I was really getting into it."
Although he enjoyed the company, Toussaint doesn't intend to put himself in that position again.
"I left my team down, I let my family down and I wasn't trustworthy," he said. "That's been the hardest part of all of this. I didn't stay accountable to the people that cared about me."
Toussaint rushed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns last season, and he and Denard Robinson were expected to do great things as the nation's only backfield with a pair of returning 1,000-yard rushers. With Toussaint back in Ann Arbor, though, Nick Saban's defense was able to focus on keeping Robinson in the pocket.
Robinson finished with just 27 yards rushing, and although he threw for 200 yards, 115 of them came on two plays.
None of Michigan's reserve tailbacks stepped up in Toussaint's absence. Vincent Smith led the rushing game with 33 yards on 13 carries.
"I wanted to be out there because I know I would have filled my role and made some plays," Toussaint said. "Still, I understood entirely why I wasn't there.
"I'm the one who made the mistake, and I had to pay the consequences for what I did."
Toussaint has been reinstated for Saturday's home opener against Air Force, and Robinson is excited about the possibility.
"It's great for Fitz because he's one of my best friends, and I know how tough this has been," he said. "But it also means we've got a great running back on the field.
"Fitz is one of those guys that can break any play for six points, so he adds a lot to our offense."
Toussaint originally worried about the welcome that he could get from his teammates, but said they couldn't have been more supportive.
"One by one, they've all come to me and told me that they had my back and I was still one of them," he said. "Denard and (safety Jordan) Kovacs have come to my house and made sure I was ready to go when I could start practicing.
"These are all my brothers, which is why it hurts so much that I let them down."
Offensive coordinator Al Borges hasn't promised Toussaint that he'll immediately get his starting position back, so he plans to earn it back on the field.
"That's fine because I know what I did," he said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can in every practice, do my job and earn my job back.
"That's part of the consequences, and I understand that."
DENARD IGNORES TWEETS
Robinson shrugged off questions about the latest incident in the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.
In a story that has gotten national attention, several MSU players took shots on Twitter at Robinson's quarterback ability during the loss to Alabama.
"I haven't paid any attention to that," he said. "I heard about it, but I'm worrying about Air Force right now. Something like that is no big deal."
ROUNDTREE SAYS HE'S HEALTHY
Roy Roundtree, Michigan's top receiver, played against Alabama less than a month after having arthroscopic knee surgery but didn't catch a pass until the final six minutes.
On Tuesday, he insisted that his health had nothing to do with the lack of production.
"My knee wasn't bothering me at all," Roundtree said. "We were having trouble with our timing, and we missed some plays because of that.
"But Denard was making the right reads and making the passes. I just wasn't getting open."
Roundtree acknowledged that some of the problem might have been caused by Alabama's star-laden defense.
"They've got some great players, and they are the defending champions," he said. "The things we learned by watching a defense that good on film will really help us against Air Force and down the road."