Notes: Toussaint/Clark update and tight ends

August, 9, 2012
8/09/12
8:06
PM ET
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke said on Thursday that suspended players Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark "still are not practicing with the team."

Hoke had said on Monday that there was no set timetable for either player's return.

He further said Thursday that they have not been at Michigan’s physical practice. When it comes to whether either was actually inside Schembechler Hall, Hoke wouldn’t give an answer.


"So they are not in the building then," a reporter asked Hoke.

“I don’t know,” Hoke said. “Are they?”

Toussaint, Michigan’s second-leading rusher a season ago and the man slated to start for the Wolverines at running back this season, was suspended following a drunken driving arrest last month. Clark, who was supposed to be competing for a starting defensive line slot against Brennen Beyer, has been suspended after being charged with second degree home invasion, a felony in Michigan.

Devin Funchess
Scott Stewart for ESPNHSDevin Funchess is one of two freshman tight ends who could be pressed into service early.
Freshmen might see time at tight end
While Michigan had losses at other positions due to defections and suspensions, one position the Wolverines don’t have a ton of depth at due to pure numbers is tight end.

So much so that Hoke said a freshman could end up seeing time there very early in his career. Both Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams, who Hoke said is weighing around 280 pounds, could vie for time.

“It depends, personnel group-wise,” Hoke said. “We can do a lot with two backs and one tight end in the game that we do with one back and two tight ends in the game. Obviously your short yardage and heavier packages you’d like to have two bigger guys, so there could be.”

Williams and Funchess are competing with fifth-year senior Brandon Moore, whom Hoke praised for his physical play Thursday, and walk-on Mike Kwiatkowski, who Hoke said could fill in at a second tight end role.

Hoke seemed comfortable with Williams’ weight -- not typical of tight ends who might have to run routes -- and seemed pleased with the way the Cincinnati native was able to move.

“It depends what you want him to do,” Hoke said. “He runs well enough that I shouldn’t say is surprising because we recruited him so we must have thought he ran well enough. But for moving that big body around, he’s not bad.”

This and that
Michigan has its first day of full pads practice Friday. ... Linebacker Kenny Demens said he was impressed with freshman defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins, whom he praised for having good understanding of football and also how he controlled the gaps in the line. He also said linebacker Joe Bolden, one of three early enrollee freshmen, is doing well. ... Craig Roh also praised Pipkins’ pass-rush ability and how well he moves. He also revealed Pipkins’ nickname -- or what he would like to be called -- “Pee Wee Optimus Prime.” “I think he only told me that,” Roh said. “Now you guys know so, oh well.”

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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