August 6, 2012

Roundtree impressed by rookies

Some players equivocate a bit when asked about the most impressive freshman they've seen. Not fifth-year senior Roy Roundtree, who didn't hesitate a bit in putting forth the name of his fall camp roomie.

Roundtree noted freshman Amara Darboh took the honors of most impressive rookie, regardless of position.

"Today, Amara just showed out," Roundtree noted regarding Michigan's first day of fall camp. "He's really getting comfortable. I told him last night, 'It's just football, man. It's just a faster pace.' He went out there and showed it."

That doesn't mean the 6-2, 218-pounder has arrived, by any means, Roundtree cautioned.

"We're going to watch film, and Coach Heck [Jeff Hecklinski] is going to let him know his mistakes," Roundtree said. "We'll see. By the end of the camp, we'll see where everybody is at."

Roundtree likes where both Darboh and fellow freshman Jehu Chesson are at this point in their development. There isn't any doubt, both are filled with questions and their heads are spinning like those of all the other freshmen, but the raw materials are there, the senior opined.

"Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson are athletes, man," Roundtree said. "I was amazed at what I saw from their first practice. They recruited two great wide receivers."

Darboh's size proved impressive to Rountree. He laughed when relating the rookie looks the size of Ricardo Miller, who bulked up to swing between receiver and tight end.

He also noted that Darboh, quiet by nature, has begun to get more comfortable with him.

"He's quiet, but I've known him for a long time now," Roundtree said. "Talking to him, he's opened up more."

Meanwhile, the lankier Chesson can contribute as well at some point, the senior noted.

"He can spread the field," Roundtree noted "He's a pretty skinny guy, but he's tall, and he can run great routes. He goes up for the ball like Coach Heck wants him to. He's going to be good."

The veterans, Roundtree noted, made a point of gearing up to inspire the rookies on the first day of camp. The seniors met last night to talk about their approach, and they underscored bringing an upbeat disposition to what can be a grueling time.

"It's to bring energy to our locker room and the field," Roundtree said. "We are in camp, and there are some days you're going to be down, but the 22 seniors that we are have to come in with excitement, for the younger guys to look up to."

That includes Denard Robinson, who can have a newcomer in awe, at least temporarily.

"He's not quiet any more," Roundtree said of the senior QB. "He actually talks. Being a quarterback, you're a focal point here at Michigan. Plus, you're Denard Robinson. The younger guys want to know what's on your mind. He's speaking up a lot now.

"He chewed a couple of guys out in the summer. It's just coming in and being Denard. He's a senior and everybody is going to listen to him. He's accomplished so much. From a freshman standpoint, it's like, 'Man, I'm playing with Denard Robinson. That's a big thing.' But he's just a regular, humble guy."

Having worked with him in the summer, the rookies are adjusting quickly, the veteran wideout noted.

"They're around him now," Roundtree said. "Since we're in camp, we all talk. Different seniors sit at different tables, just to get to know the freshmen. With 'Lace, he just moves around, talking to people."

Roundtree has a transition of his own to deal with, going from slot receiver to flanker. He'll handle it well, he vowed, while giving as much help as possible to those just diving into football at this level.

"Real smooth," Roundtree said of his transition. "I'm enjoying it. Coach Heck is throwing a lot at us, but it's for me to get the younger wide receivers ready."

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