ESPN is reporting that Hoke suspended his starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and back up defensive end Frank Clark for the season-opener against defending national-champions Alabama Crimson Tide.
“The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and those always will be my priorities,” Hoke said. “We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan.
“These are our sons. These are real lives, and I think too often many people forget that. It’s not always just about football, or a football decision. It’s about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we’ve won. That is ultimately what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society.
“They are good young men who made poor choices, and we will continue to support them as members of our team and family.”
Toussaint rushed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He pleaded guilty earlier in the week to driving while visibly impaired.
I can appreciate Hoke making a strong stance for his program and not waiting until he had a cup cake opponent to hand down his ruling. I’m not necessarily sure Toussaint would have had much running room against a stout Bama front, anyways.
Glenn Erby is a NFL writer for FootBasket. He also owns the NFL blog, Tha Cover 2. You can read more about him over there. Follow him on Twitter @thacover2.