Michigan Wolverine Football: Opener Should Reveal Answers At Running Back

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When Michigan takes on the Central Michigan Chippewas this Saturday, fans will be ecstatic that Michigan football is back.  It should be a fun one, as Central Michigan shouldn’t give the Wolverines much trouble.  They’re not necessarily a cupcake, but this Michigan team should win easily.  Besides the enjoyment of football being back and a likely rout, Michigan fans should be very focused on the running back situation Saturday afternoon.

Brady Hoke and Al Borges have made it clear that senior Fitzgerald Toussaint will be the starting tailback.  He’s been the guy before for Michigan, when he ran for over 1,000 yards in 2011, but Toussaint has not been the same since.  After a disappointing 2012, Toussaint broke his leg towards the end of last year.  Despite the awful injury, Fitz has been impressive in camp this summer.  He is the established starter, for now, and the coaches are hoping he can return to his top-shelf 2011 form.

But behind Toussaint on the depth chart is where the questions lie.  Who else will be able to contribute for Michigan?  Will any other running back be able to challenge Toussaint for the starting spot?

The other backfield options consist of junior Thomas Rawls, sophomore Justice Hayes and freshmen Drake Harris, De’Veon Smith and Derrick Green.  None of these backs have had any type of real production at the collegiate level and the last three have never played a game at Michigan before.  There are no proven talents, just a bunch of question marks.

Hayes and Rawls have at least played, but have just 97 total rushes combined.  Green was one of the top running backs in the country in the 2013 recruiting class, but has not particularly lived up to the hype in camp.  Smith and Harris are interesting, but have done nothing to separate themselves or have any experience.

The thing is, somebody (other than Toussaint) is going to be running the ball Saturday.  So, if anyone can impress, that would be huge for them to separate from the pack.

Micigan has a lot of questions at running back and hopefully Saturday’s opener against Central Michigan will provide some answers.

You can follow Alex Dale on Twitter @alexdaleCFB

Topics: Central Michigan, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan Wolverine Football

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