It will be weird for Michigan fans to see former star running back Mike Hart on the opposite sidelines wearing different colors this week. But Hart says he is prepared. Hart, who is now a quality control coach at Eastern Michigan, told the Detroit News' Angelique S. Chengelis that his heart now firmly resides in Ypsilanti.
"I'm committed to this team," Hart said. "This is who I am. I am Eastern Michigan. I coach at Eastern Michigan. I want Eastern Michigan to win every game. I don't cheer for Michigan ever anymore. I watch the game and I watch as a coach trying to see what they're going to do."
Hart said he doesn't care what the Wolverines do and is only trying to win a MAC championship at Eastern Michigan, which is 2-0 but has played a pair of FCS teams. He's not expecting to be overwhelmed by a flood of memories at Michigan Stadium.
"I think once you get in there, I'm so focused on the task at hand that I probably really won't notice," he said. "When I walk in it might be, 'Whoa, I'm on the other sideline,' but I've got a job to do."
Those are all the right things to say, and when you're a competitor your main goal is always to get your team a victory no matter who you're playing. But my guess is that Hart was watching Saturday night's game against Notre Dame as a little more than a dispassionate observer, and that he would love nothing more to get back to Ann Arbor as a coach some day.
In other Wolverines news, head coach Brady Hoke said Monday that running back Fitz Toussaint, who missed Saturday's game with a shoulder injury, should hopefully be ready for Eastern Michigan. Cornerback Troy Woolfolk is battered and bruised; he wore a hand cast Saturday after dealing with an ankle injury all week, and then he took a shot to the face in the game. But Hoke said Woolfolk would keep on playing. The health status of linebackers Cam Gordon and Brandon Herron will continue to be monitored this week. Junior Brandin Hawthorne is now listed as the starter at weakside linebacker.