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WolverineNation roundtable

9/6/2012
Andrew Weber/US Presswire

Every Thursday, Tom, Mike and Chantel will discuss three issues in and around Michigan sports. With the home opener just a few days out, they bring their focus to all things Michigan football.

1.) We're probably going to see Fitzgerald Toussaint this weekend. But will he start? And how much will he play?

Tom Van Haaren: I'm not sure it matters if he starts or not for this game. I could see the coaches starting Vincent Smith again then working Fitz in. I think you'll see him in the game quite a bit though, since they'll want him to get reps against a team other than the Michigan practice squad.

Chantel Jennings: I said earlier that I thought he wouldn't, but I’m rescinding that and saying that I think he gets the start. I think he has probably proved himself in practice and proved himself through whatever punishments he had (while doing it with a lot of humility and maturity, it seems). I think, for that, he deserves the start. Hoke is strict. I also think he's gracious.

Mike Rothstein: Toussaint will play a lot, and if he doesn't start he'll be in very soon after the first snap. Michigan made a point of suspending him for the opener, and having him explain himself in front of the media Tuesday. It might hammer home one final lesson by not giving him the start, but otherwise they'll put Toussaint in and use him as normal. I'd go as far to say Toussaint also picks up more than 100 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. He'll play that much.

2.) We saw a few different guys catch passes from Denard Robinson against the Crimson Tide. At the end of the year, which receiver do you think will have the most catches and why?

TV: I think fans are probably hoping it's Roy Roundtree despite what happened against Alabama, but it looks like Jeremy Gallon has a chance to be the guy to get a lot of receptions this year. Either Gallon or Devin Gardner. It seemed like Denard really wanted to connect with Gardner early on.

CJ: I think it'll be Gardner by season's end. I think Gallon might be able to sneak by and be the leader as the Wolverines head into conference play, but as games get more physical and Robinson needs a bigger athletic target (rather than a smaller athletic target), he'll turn to Gardner.

MR: The easy answer is Gallon and that's who I am going with. Robinson and Gallon seem to have a rapport the other receivers don't, and he is perhaps the most sure-handed of the bunch (non-Drew Dileo division). He's also a legitimate deep threat and is able to get separation Michigan's other receivers struggle to get. Here's a surprise, though: Roundtree will be no higher than third in receptions, as Gardner figures out the role by midseason and becomes Robinson's favorite target down the stretch.

3.) Michigan didn't look too impressive in its loss to Alabama. How important is it for recruits to see a team that rebounds strongly against Air Force?

TV: It's definitely important for Michigan to handle Air Force and win the game from a recruiting standpoint. People are saying Alabama team is the most talented team Michigan will face all year, so the Wolverines need to show that they aren't as bad as they looked against the Crimson Tide.

CJ: Michigan needs to beat Air Force and it needs to beat Air Force soundly. The Wolverines didn't look good against Alabama, and it wasn't just that the Crimson Tide were really, really good. The Wolverines didn't use good technique and they didn't make good decisions. Recruits notice that stuff. Michigan needs a solid 'W' with good fundamentals so that players really can know that there is a foundation to build on at Michigan.

MR: I think it's more important for the current players than the recruits. If Michigan were to fall to 0-2, what was being touted as a potential BCS season is suddenly on the brink of being very, very rough considering the schedule. Recruits also know Michigan isn't close to its capability yet and that in theory, the team will improve in the coming seasons with strong recruiting classes. However, if Michigan doesn't play well again, it wouldn't be surprising if some players with other high major offers at least started to contemplate things. But I just don't know if that happens this early in the season. Long way to go, both positively and negatively, before February.