- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Around this time a season ago, Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint started to break out. He began to find his stride and emerge from being just another ball-carrier on the Michigan roster into being the running back for the Wolverines.
This season, though, it hasn’t panned out yet. Through a confluence of events, from his suspension for the season-opener against Alabama to blocking issues with the offensive line to not receiving as many carries as he would like the next three games, Toussaint has yet to find a rhythm or comfort zone.
So Michigan spent part of the off week trying to help him figure out what he needs to do.
“He’s been more downhill in my opinion,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “Getting him vertically is what we need to do and what he needs to do. It’s blocking for him a little better, sticking your foot in the ground as a back and not seeing any ghosts. Know where you want to go with it and be physical.
“Know where you want to go with it.”
That was part of Toussaint’s issue when this coaching staff arrived before last season. His vision wasn’t as good as it needed to be, so he would miss cuts and holes. Throughout last season and the spring, though, it improved to the point where Michigan didn’t consider it a concern anymore.
It occasionally still happens, especially as he continueds to try and find the form which turned him into a 1,000-yard rusher a season ago.
“I definitely feel I need to get back in my rhythm but I’ve been preparing for anything,” Toussaint said recently. “So I was able to go out there and do what I had to do.”
Last go for Roundtree: Roy Roundtree knows it is coming by now during the Purdue week, how the fifth-year senior wide receiver switched his commitment from the Boilermakers to Michigan at the last minute, prompting then-Purdue coach Joe Tiller to call then-Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez a “guy in a wizard hat selling snake oil” for poaching Roundtree.
“They are all good guys out there,” Roundtree said.
He doesn’t think much, though, about how his career might have changed if he never pulled back from the Boilermakers.
“J.T. [Floyd] talked about it the other day and said, ‘Me and you wouldn’t be good friends,’ “ Roundtree said. “If I was at Purdue I don’t know if I would have still been there, because I don’t know if I would have redshirted or not.
“I’m enjoying this right now.”
This and that: Hoke had no injury updates Wednesday and would not delve more into what happened to defensive lineman Nathan Brink, who is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury. ... While Hoke has played a lot of freshmen on defense thus far this season, he is also aware of what could happen as the season progresses, that the proverbial freshman wall is out there. “That wall is coming,” Hoke said. “Now the good thing was getting them home for 36 hours or whatever, a lot of them, because they are from Ohio or Michigan and that helps a bit.” As for when that wall might come? Look for it around November.
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