Roy Roundtree: Simplified playbook key to reversing Michigan's road offensive woes
ANN ARBOR -- Michigan has employed a conservative offensive game plan the past three weeks, and an ultra conservative plan last week against Michigan State.
Don't expect much to change Saturday when the 20th-ranked Wolverines travel to face Nebraska (8 p.m., ESPN2).
Michigan has struggled away from home under coach Brady Hoke, and the offense has been particularly concerning. It averaged only 20.9 points in its first seven games away from the Big House under Hoke, while scoring 40.1 points at home.
It was 3-4 away from home in that time.
But the Wolverines exploded for 44 points in their latest road game against Purdue, the best road offensive production of the Hoke era.
Receiver Roy Roundtree said the biggest thing that clicked in that game was the offensive game plan, which was stripped down.
"Coach Borges, he knows everything, and the conservative (approach), he's helping us," Roundtree said. "I feel like before, we were putting a lot of things in and it was kind of confusing some of the players. But so far, so good, and we'll be ready."
Michigan has used a similar plan the past two weeks, but Roundtree said its particularly helpful on the road, where hostile environments make communication more difficult. And Lincoln is expected to be hostile for Saturday's prime-time matchup.
"It's going to be loud, so you can't hear some of the motions or stuff like that," he said. "Just trying to go in there with a great mind-set, conservative playbook so we can play fast."
Michigan's revamped game plan has featured the run. It racked up more than 300 yards rushing against Purdue and Illinois, then 163 last week against Michigan State's Big Ten-best rush defense.
Hoke said the Wolverines will again emphasize the run at Nebraska.
“I think the road, there’s a lot of things you always have to look at, and that’s part of it," he said. "If you’ve studied football and management of football, that’s always been one thing that most coaches will talk about is taking the crowd out by being able to run the football and move the chains that way.
"However we can move them, we want to try and move them.”