December 28, 2012
Borton's Blog: Still smiling
It's not New Orleans, although some prefer Tampa anyway. It's not the BCS, like it was in 2011. But fifth-year senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree can't wipe the smile off his face, as someone who counts blessings daily.
It's rare to see him with anything but a grin and a friendly word. He once found himself on the verge of four years at Purdue, and Big Ten championship or not, Roundtree looks like someone very glad he went the wizard's way.
And now, he's still not complaining.
"We're just blessed we got the opportunity to get into a good bowl game," Roundtree offered. "Last year was last year. It was fun, but this year is fun as well. We're down here in the warm, on the beach, and we're getting to enjoy it so far. We're having fun."
The last half of football he played wasn't so much fun. Michigan didn't score, and that made all the difference in a six-point loss at Ohio State. Roundtree's face clouds over at that memory, but he's not dwelling on it - other than want to move forward with less mistakes in a final shot on the field.
"Coach [Al] Borges has got a great playbook," Roundtree said. "We're ready to display it Jan. 1, because we've got a great game plan. We've watched a lot of film on South Carolina, and I feel we'll be able to do some things that we didn't do in the Ohio game."
Or not> do, as the case may be.
"Penalties, we had some fumbles, mistakes," Roundtree recalled. "I feel we've really been doing a good job in practice of staying in rhythm. Everybody has been focused.
"We're down here on a business trip. We know what's at stake. It's the SEC versus the Big Ten. We're just trying to come down here and prove a point."
Having missed the chance to prove that point in Indianapolis, Roundtree admits he really wants to do so in Tampa.
"Yeah, it hurt us to know we didn't make it to the Big Ten championship game, and we consider it to be a failure," he said. "But we've got one more game to prove ourselves. We need to go out on top, and that's our main focus."
Regrets, he has a few, but then again, he only mentions them when you do. His team would have been playing in the Big Ten championship game, had senior quarterback Denard Robinson not seriously aggravated the ulna nerve in his right arm just before halftime at Nebraska.
He didn't return in that game, and Michigan lost its chance to win the Big Ten. You'll never hear that from a veteran receiver who remains ever mindful of his teammates, though.
"You never know," Roundtree shrugged. "You've got to give credit to Nebraska. They made adjustments, and we felt Russell [Bellomy] could win the game for us. He ran practice.
"It happens. I wouldn't know [if Michigan would have won with Robinson]. Nebraska didn't change up their game plan of stopping us. It was a struggle, but it is what it is."
It is what it is. That applies to the lack of a Big Ten championship ring on his finger as well. It's not easy, he admits.
Then again, it's not as if he's coming away from Michigan empty-handed, even with unadorned fingers.
"It's pretty tough not winning the Big Ten, but life goes on," Roundtree said. "Denard is going to graduate, I already graduated, most of the seniors are going to graduate. I feel like we accomplished something when we got that degree from Michigan.
"It wasn't a Big Ten ring, but we've got something we can cherish for the rest of our lives."
Sounds like he'll be okay.
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