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Hoke gives no timeline for Toussaint's return

Associated Press Modified: August 6, 2012 at 10:17 pm •  Published: August 6, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan started preseason practice without suspended players Fitz Toussaint and Frank Clark, and with coach Brady Hoke giving no hint on when either would return.

Toussaint, the starting tailback, was arrested for drunken driving. Clark, a defensive end, was charged with second-degree home invasion.

"That's a decision that has to be made down the road, and I don't know when that will be," Hoke said. "Right now, we'll focus on the guys that are out there."

Hoke announced Monday both will remain off the field for the indefinitely. The Wolverines open the season against Alabama on Sept. 1 in Texas.

Wide receiver Jerald Robinson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor destruction of property charge Monday morning in Ann Arbor, but took part in the afternoon workout. Hoke said that Robinson's punishment had concluded.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson said that he knows how badly Toussaint wants to be reinstated.

"I've been talking to Fitz, and he wants to be out on the field with us," Robinson said. "It's the first day of practice, and we've all been waiting for this. He wants to be out there just as bad as the rest of us, but right now he can't be."

Hoke said that he's not concerned about Toussaint and Clark missing practice time, because of their experience in his system last season.

"They played a lot of football for us last year," he said. "They will be fine."

Hoke was happy to be back at work. His team is the favorite in the Big Ten's Legends Division, although they will be severely tested in the opener against the defending national champion Crimson Tide.

"Today was our first day with a new football team, and that's always going to be fun," he said. "There was some excitement out there today, but there was also some chippiness, and that's what we want to see. We're going to put these players under stress, because we want Saturdays to be easy for them."

Hoke also acknowledged that, even though his team didn't wear pads for the first day of practice, he was pleased to see some contact.

"These are football players, and when they've got a helmet on, they are going to run into each other a bit," he said. "We want to have a physical football team, but we also want a tough team, both mentally and physically. We need to have the confidence to play fast, and that's what we're seeing."