The Wolverine

October 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Through the first four games of 2011, Toussaint had carried the ball 35 times for 193 yards (5.5 per attempt) and three touchdowns. photo by per kjeldsen he���s not going to hold up over the long haul. He insists he���s ready to run and that his injuries over the past 12 months don���t constitute a pattern. ���I���d say I���ve had some unlucky moments,��� he offered, quietly. ���I don���t think that will be an issue. I���ve just got to take care of myself.��� The redshirt sophomore remembers his playing days at Liberty High in Youngstown, when he didn���t mind occasionally watching others perform. That���s because his team had already exercised such first-half dominance, those further down the depth chart controlled the second half. 34��� the wolverine��� ������ October 2011 Toussaint revels in the memory and all that went along with his prep success. He rushed for 1,100 yards as a sophomore, 1,400 his junior year and an attention-demanding 2,239 with 28 touchdowns his senior season. pegged him a four-star athlete and the No. 8 all-purpose prep back in the nation, and plenty of colleges showed interest. They were wasting their time, Toussaint assured. His gaze fixed on the north. ���I knew exactly where I wanted to go,��� Toussaint recalled. ���I had my eye set on Michigan from the start. I grew up a Michigan fan. It was a done deal. As soon as I got the offer, that���s where I was going. ���Following them, I saw guys that showed great leadership. I watched guys like Charles Woodson and Mike Hart ��� I was a big Mike Hart fan. I grew up watching him.��� Soon enough, he got a chance to slip on the same winged helmet, run down the same time-honored tunnel and burst out in front of the same immense throng as Hart. Ever since, Fitzgerald threw himself into a battle to become Michigan���s next top tailback. He redshirted as a freshman and then made the brief-but-brilliant debut at the end of the 2010 non-conference campaign. What followed made him even hungrier for action ��� long sessions in the training room, working to get back. ���It���s been frustrating,��� Toussaint admitted. ���But the people I���m surrounded by help me get through it every day. I come in here and come to work. We���ve got good trainers in there, helping me with injuries. We���ve got a good weight room staff, both this year and last year. I got help with my frustrations, getting through it and coming back and being healthy.��� He did come back, healthier and hungrier than ever. He truly believed he���d driven himself hard to prepare for the job of Michigan���s top tailback, but this past offseason, he discovered the need for finding another gear. ���My work ethic had to change,��� Toussaint said. ���I had to do more of everything. I had to do more reps in the weight room. You���ve got to push. They say deep down inside, you���ve always got that extra 40 percent. You say you���re going 100 percent, but you���ve got 40 percent extra. I���ve tried to go that extra 40 percent in order to reach my full potential.��� Jackson also noted Toussaint needed to increase his tolerance for performing with discomfort. ���It���s a mental thing,��� Jackson said. ���I���ve had backs with knees, shoulders, ankles and everything else, and it becomes a deal where you can tolerate it or you can���t. You���ve got to understand you���re never going to feel good, you���re always going to be banged up and you���ve got to be able to play with it. The great ones will. The ones that are not go-

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