Michigan Football: Why Roy Roundtree Is Under Immense Pressure for 2012 Season
“At flanker, No. 21, Roy Roundtree.”
The senior Michigan receiver will hear this announcement in less than 90 days when Michigan opens its 133rd collegiate football season.
The stage couldn't be larger for both Michigan and Roundtree, as the Wolverines face defending national champion Alabama at (Dallas) Cowboys Stadium.
For Michigan, it will be the start of coach Brady Hoke's second season, one with nothing less than Big Ten title aspirations.
For Roundtree, it will be an opportunity to erase the memories of a disappointing 2011 campaign, where his production dropped from 72 receptions to 19.
Let's take a look at the upcoming concerns for Roundtree, who faces a pivotal season indeed.
Wearing No. 21
At the outset of the 2011 season, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon introduced the “Michigan Football Legend” program, where past Wolverine greats would be honored.
Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard was the first “Legend” selected, and his “No. 21” would be worn in his honor by deserving players in the future.
Junior Hemingway was the first to be honored last season, and Roy Roundtree will wear it in 2012.
After a subpar 2011 season, the weight of Howard's jersey could add to Roundtree's concerns.
Lack of Experienced Depth
With the graduation of Junior Hemingway, Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon become the only wide receivers with any appreciable experience. From there, Michigan's down to Drew Dileo (nine receptions), Jeremy Jackson (three), Jerald Robinson (zero) and a few talented freshmen.
Michigan's even toying with moving second-string quarterback Devin Gardner to wide receiver.
So, is it crucial for Roundtree to have a banner season? What do you think?
Microscope on Roundtree, Robinson
While Roy Roundtree took his share of criticism in 2011, so did quarterback Denard Robinson.
The 2010 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year also saw his numbers plummet in 2011. Robinson's completion percentage and passing yards dropped, and his interceptions skyrocketed.
Much of the blame went to the change in coaching staffs, some went to Robinson's questionable decision making, and some went to Robinson's poor throwing habits.
Both Roundtree and Robinson know the microscope will be in use this season, especially in the Michigan-Alabama opener.
NFL Career Awaits
With 104 catches in his first two Michigan seasons, there's no question Roy Roundtree could see an NFL career in his future. He would join a long list of Michigan receivers who went on to play professionally.
And despite last season's problems, there's no reason he can't elevate his game to that level.
Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges is confident Roundtree can make a comeback.
"Because we split time with him and Jeremy Gallon, Roy took some hits with his numbers," Borges told annarbor.com. "But going to flanker, a healthy Roy Roundtree could really have a good season. And out at flanker now, you get more balls thrown your way. I have no doubt Roy Roundtree will have a heck of a year."