Nobody in the Top 25 has a tougher assignment in Week 1 than Michigan—going down to Dallas to face defending champion Alabama. The Tide may have lost some elite talent to the NFL after last season, but with Nick Saban at the helm, the defense is never going to be anything less than rock solid.
Thus, it's imperative that Michigan be at top form on offense for a challenge like this. Otherwise, it may end up being a long night in the Lone Star State. And when the top receiver in a corps that's hurting badly for depth has to go under the knife three weeks before that game, that is not a great sign.
Here's more from AnnArbor.com:
"He had a little cartilage that he needed cleaned up, we expect him back in two weeks," Hoke said. "Everything went great, he feels great.
"It was just one of those things."
Roundtree, who is expected to be one of Michigan's leading pass-catchers this season, hurt his knee "walking back to the huddle" at practice last week.
The two-week designation is crucial, because if it's three weeks, he's not playing against Alabama, and that is flat-out not an option if Michigan wants any serious chance to win that game.
Moreover, Roundtree's surgery underscores what a dicey situation Michigan has in terms of wide receiver depth. Past Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon, Michigan's top wideouts are Jerald Robinson (zero catches in 2011, mostly played special teams), Drew Dileo (121 yards receiving in 2011, wouldn't start for basically any other Big Ten team), Jeremy Jackson (seven career catches) and...does Desmond Howard have any eligibility left?
It also underscores the fact that Michigan could seriously use Devin Gardner as a full-time wideout, and there's been absolutely no indication that he's ready to take on that kind of role at this point. He's being talked about as a hybrid QB/WR, according to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free-Press, and hybrids aren't about to give you that dominating "eight catches, 124 yards, one TD" type of stat line that you see from the real difference-makers at the position.
And yes, it's worth noting that Michigan is hardly the only team in the Big Ten hurting for wide receiver quality and depth this year. But even at Michigan State, which lost its top three wideouts from 2011, there are three or four WRs who would start over Jerald Robinson. Same with the similarly wideout-challenged Ohio State. Heck, Indiana and Illinois have more robust depth situations at WR than Michigan.
So please get back in time for Week 1, Roy Roundtree. The alternative is Denard Robinson throwing to an underwhelming WR corps against Alabama's defense, and that is very bad news for the Big Ten with the whole nation watching.
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