ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan players have been given Outback Bowl shirts that say “Bowl Bound” in big letters.
For now, that’s true for all Wolverines except for one: tailback Fitz Toussaint, who suffered a lower leg injury against Iowa and had surgery.
Michigan’s former starting tailback is moving around, using crutches and wearing a boot on his lower leg, but whether he can go to Tampa, Fla., and play against South Carolina with the team is uncertain.
The Wolverines will play USC on New Year’s Day.
“That we’ll find out,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “We haven’t crossed that bridge yet. If he’s healthy and we can do some alternate conditioning, we’ll bring him.”
Toussaint has a substantial recovery process ahead, but Hoke said he’s optimistic.
“He’s been good,” Hoke said. “He knows he’s got a lot of work ahead of him. There’s a great article on Adrian Peterson — and that’s one of his idols — in USA Today about coming back from injury and the mindset those kind of things. So I gave it to Fitz. He’s got a lot of support and they’re really happy with how everything went. It’s going to be a grind, but he’s up to it.”
Hoke said the backfield will look as it did at the end of the season, with Thomas Rawls, Justice Hayes and Vincent Smith, though he would like to have redshirt Drake Johnson, a true freshman.
“I think it’d be neat if the NCAA let your redshirt guys play in a bowl game,” Hoke said. “That running game is a big point of emphasis. We just have to do a lot better.”