Don't expect a quick resolution to Michigan's tailback battle. Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said Sunday at Michigan's annual media day that the battle for the starting job likely will continue into the season.
The main reason for that might be that highly touted true freshman tailback Derrick Green has a minor injury and has not had any contact during fall camp. But even when coaches decide on a starter, it seems likely that multiple backs are going to carry the ball for the Wolverines this season. Quarterback Denard Robinson is gone, and his carries will have to go to someone.
Green (5-feet-11, 240 pounds) was a consensus national top-30 player and a top-five running back nationally in the 2013 recruiting class. He weighed 220 pounds when he signed, but Hoke says he has no concerns about Green's additional pounds, some of which likely will come off once he goes through contact drills.
Returning starter Fitzgerald Toussaint (5-10, 200), a senior, had a strong 2011, rushing for 1,041 yards and nine TDs. But he struggled at times last season before suffering a broken leg in Game 10 (he missed spring practice while recuperating). Toussaint rushed for 514 yards and five scores last fall, and has looked good in fall camp.
There's also junior Thomas Rawls (5-10, 217) and redshirt freshman Drake Johnson (6-0, 213).
Running back coach Fred Jackson, who has had the same role with the Wolverines since 1992, when Gary Moeller was coach, said Sunday that he likes that he is working with physical running backs again.
"[The past few seasons] we had mostly spread backs, we're not in the spread [anymore]," he told MLive.com. "... These guys, when they hit a 250-pound linebacker, his ass is going to go backward, I don't care how tough he is.
"... You're going to see the stuff you're used to seeing from Michigan running backs. Guys who, on third-and-1, they're going to get it."