After the course of a season, I always find it interesting to go back and see what a team has accomplished. This season my target for the Oklahoma Sooners was watching the productivity when making trips inside the redzone.
At the end and even in the middle of last season, most of the concern for Oklahoma came by way of the lack of productivity from the offense in the redzone. Of course it all starts with a focus on the offensive line. With the bar being set high by guys such as Trent Williams, Phil Loadholt, and Jammal Brown, it is easy to forget that this is a cohesive unit. It is not dependent upon a single player but rather relies on the entire line to be solid. The statement that you are only as good as the weakest link would apply here.
However, the idea that an offensive line is weak in turn spawns the idea the stable of running backs will lack success as well. And finally, we end up here, thinking that the redzone offense could have and should have been more successful allowing the Sooners to come away with an extra win or two this season. Without that initial push, three attempts at the goal line will fail to cross into the end zone.
This leads me to our first myth or misconception (which I have heard ESPN, along with others, using): Oklahoma lacks success in the redzone. Let's dive into the numbers then shall we.
|Name||G||Attempts||Scores||Score %||TD||TD %||FG||FG %|
Maybe it is a difference in what is being deemed as successful or not. To differentiate, what I find as a success in the redzone is coming away with a score, whether that be a field goal or a touchdown. Any trip inside the 20 yard line that does not yield points is considered to be a failure (given that 6 or more points are not needed to win or tie a game in the closing seconds).
Now that we have that out of the way and have also identified what a successful trip to the redzone consists of let's breakdown a few of the statistics.
Based on scoring percentage alone, the Sooners found themselves ranked No. 11 in the nation. Across the board, Oklahoma ranks inside the top 25 in all of these numbers shown above minus the FG%. This is not to be confused with the rate at which the ball travels through the uprights. No rather it is intended to break down the ratio of touchdowns to field goals on scoring drives the ended in the redzone.
Much of the mindset across the nation toward Oklahoma and the Big XII Conference was established after the 2008 season. Sam Bradford led OU to the most prolific offensive outing for any team in the country during his Heisman campaign. The redzone efficiency of that group was near other worldly as the Sooners landed converted 71 TDs and 7 FGs on 84 attempts for a 92.86% conversion rate. Since then, no Sooner team has hit this mark but 2012 sure did come close.
There are a multitude of reasons why Oklahoma saw a spike in redzone efficiency this season that include transfer Damien Williams strong performances to Blake Bell and the Belldozer. However, to say that the Sooners lacked success in the redzone is absolutely ludicrous.