Oklahoma Football | A Redzone Trend & Remedy

Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

Ah, the redzone. A place where games are won and lost as things go terribly wrong or incredibly right.

The redzone offense has always been a crucial part of determining the outcome of games played on the biggest of stages. With receiving windows becoming increasing smaller due to the speed of defenders, the option to run the ball across the goal line has taken a precedent. Nonetheless, penalties provide major setbacks while turnovers can cause massive momentum swings.

G Attempts Scores Score % TD TD % FG FG %
14 84 78 92.86 71 84.52 7 8.33


Since a record breaking offense stepped onto the field in 2008 behind Sam Bradford, the Oklahoma Sooners have had some lofty expectations to live up to. But, let's be honest, behind a stellar offensive line with weapons like Chris Brown, DeMarco Murray, and Germaine Gresham, it is easy to see why this squad scored on 78-of-84 trips into the redzone with 71 of those being touchdowns.

When push comes to shove, a field goal isn't going to cut it against top tier teams. So what has been the trend for the Sooners as of late?

In 2009, an early injury to Bradford left the coaching staff looking toward the backup, Landry Jones to lead this team to victory. Inexperience would reveal itself as filling the role of a starter was unexpectedly thrust upon a young Jones. Still with two 1000 yard rushers returning in Murray and Brown this is a team that remained successful. But the most glaring issue was the lack of redzone attempts along with the fact that the 2009 squad more than doubled the amount of trips that ended in a field goal.

G Attempts Scores Score % TD TD % FG FG %
13 59 50 84.75 33 55.93 17 28.81


Was it that Jones needed time to cope with his surroundings and adjust to his new role as a signal caller and leader on this team? Possibly as the numbers increased during what should have been a "sophomore slump." But, in 2011-12 a plateau was witnessed.

Season G Attempts Scores Score % TD TD % FG FG %
2010 14 77 63 81.82 44 57.14 19 24.68
2011 13 66 58 87.88 39 59.09 19 28.79
2012 13 67 61 91.04 46 68.66 15 22.39


The cause?

Tightend involvement! Germaine Gresham recorded 66 receptions alone in 2008 before factoring in guys like Brody Eldrigde, Kolby Smith, and James Hanna. From there, as the numbers drop off significantly, involvement from the tightends becomes scarce until it drops to an embarrassing three total receptions from the position in 2012. Not the numbers any fan had hoped to see as the coaching staff moved away from the instincts yet continuously talked about involving the group more.

It is no secret that tightends are an instant mismatch in the redzone against smaller defenders in the middle. Not only do they provide a big target in the center of the field, TEs are instrumental in blocking schemes in order to open up lanes for the running backs. It begs the question as to why the position has been found on the endangered list at Oklahoma?

If Bob Stoops hopes to remain successful, he won't have to change a thing. However, if he hopes to compete for national titles and outright conference championships (at least in my humble opinion), there must be a return to an earlier mindset while setting Brannon Green and company free.

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