NEW ORLEANS -- Sitting in the back of the Michigan locker room a week ago after the 23-20 victory over Virginia Tech in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, junior receiver Roy Roundtree reflected for a bit.
But he also understood what is next. That next season will be his last -- and that he has something to prove.
"Ten wins. Winning the Big Ten, that's our goal," Roundtree said. "I feel like I always have something to prove. Each year I want to get better and next year coming up, my senior year, I'm going to come in the off-season, really give it my all and it'll show when we play Alabama the first game."
More and more, Michigan is going to need its former top receiver to regain his form. The Wolverines lose Junior Hemingway to graduation, and the player who many believed would take Hemingway's spot, fifth-year senior Darryl Stonum, is an unknown after being jailed for 10 days for violation of his probation last week stemming from a 2011 drunk driving arrest.
When the Michigan offense changed, Roundtree's production plummeted -- yet he still believes he improved this season. He has heard the questions about his actual productivity and dismisses them.
While Roundtree believes he improved -- and he did become a better blocker this season -- the Sugar Bowl played out like much of his 2011 season did. He was targeted a handful of times. He made one catch for 10 yards and had a chance to catch a touchdown but dropped an underthrown ball in double coverage where he leaped over a Virginia Tech defender to even get his hands on it.
It finished a season in which he caught 19 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns -- well below his 72-catch, 935-yard, 7-touchdown season in 2010.
"I feel I played well this year, better than I played last year even though the numbers don't even show it," Roundtree said. "Just won the Sugar Bowl, which is an A-plus in my career. I have been through some terrible seasons and I kept fighting, everyone kept fighting."
Still, it was an adjustment to go from a spread to pro-style offense, and Roundtree understood that. It's why next season, when he and his quarterback, Denard Robinson, have another spring and summer to work on things together, Roundtree could come back to form in his final year as a Wolverine.