Converting in the red zone
Like there was on defense, two big issues plagued Texas’ offense in the loss to Oklahoma last weekend. Red zone inefficiencies and turnovers cost the Longhorns Red River when it was all said and done on Oct. 7.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers committed three turnovers in a game for the first time since the loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys on the road last season. Ewers had two interceptions and one fumble against the Sooners last weekend. But I would only blame one of the picks and the fumble on Ewers in this game.
Oklahoma’s defense played physical and was ready for the challenge against Ewers and the talented Longhorns’ offense.
It’s harder to explain the issues Sark and the Longhorns had converting in the red zone against the Sooners. This is a recurring issue for Sark’s squad this season: trying to punch the ball in when the offense gets possession in the red zone.
Texas ranks 12th in the Big 12 this season in percentage of red zone possessions that result in a touchdown. Only the Cincinnati Bearcats and Baylor Bears have converted their red zone possessions at a lower rate than the Longhorns this season.
What’s crazy about that stat is that Texas is the only Big 12 team converting at such a low rate in the red zone that is ranked.
Among the foundational issues causing the Longhorns’ red zone woes this season is the inability to run the ball close to the goal line. Texas is getting stuffed on well over 50 percent of its rushing attempts within the opponent’s five-yard line in conference play this season.
Against the Sooners, Texas had multiple red zone possessions that resulted in no points. The worst of those red zone possessions was a four-play stretch where the Longhorns couldn’t punch the ball in from the one-yard line. Texas wasn’t getting the necessary push from the interior offensive line to get redshirt sophomore running back Jonathon Brooks into the end zone.
The absence of injured senior center Jake Majors magnified Texas’ inability to get a push from the interior offensive line against the Oklahoma front seven last weekend in the red zone.
"“I’d love for us to execute it a little bit better than we did, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”"
In a press conference this week, Sark took responsibility for the failure to convert in the red zone, namely that bad four-play stretch that resulted in a goal line stand for the Sooners.