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Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Dead to Red: A&M's revamped offense aims for more red-zone touchdowns

August 16, 2022
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The red zone seemed to have a red light.

Last year, Texas A&M was too often stopped cold in the red zone.

The area between the opponents’ 20-yard line and goal line — aka the red zone — is prime scoring territory. Once there, an offense has covered 80 percent of ground to score a touchdown.

“It goes back to execution. What you’re doing. Who you’re asking to do it. All those things go into play. You’ve got to relax and make plays. Sometimes you have opportunities. Sometimes the defense makes a good call.”
- A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher

That final 20 percent was the difference in the Aggies managing eight victories instead of posting 10 or more.

In 2021, the Aggies reached the red zone 43 times and scored on 38 of them. That’s an 88.37 percent success rate, which was ranked a healthy 29th in the nation.

But only 22 of those scores were touchdowns. The touchdown success rate was merely 51.16 percent. Only 17 of the nation’s 130 FBS teams endured more futility than the Aggies.

So why was the red zone so often a dead zone?

“It goes back to execution,” A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “What you’re doing. Who you’re asking to do it. All those things go into play.

“You’ve got to relax and make plays. Sometimes you have opportunities. Sometimes the defense makes a good call.”

There were a variety of reasons the trek from the red zone to the end zone was so difficult.

Of the 21 red zone penetrations that did not result in touchdowns, five were thwarted by penalties. Four were doomed by turnovers. Sacks disrupted three more.

Most often, the Aggies just could not complete passes.

Understandably, Fisher wouldn’t throw anybody under the proverbial bus, but quarterback Zach Calzada was typically ineffective in the red zone.

Calzada did throw eight touchdown passes from the red zone. But he also was just 15-of-37 overall.

In a loss to Ole Miss, Calzada was 2-of-7 for eight yards in the red zone. In a loss to Mississippi State, he was 1-of-4 with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Wydermeyer. He was 0-for-3 in the red zone in a win over Auburn in which the A&M offense did not manage a touchdown.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
A&M hopes to overcome last year’s  51.16 percent touchdown success rate with an improved QB room and offensive line. 

To be fair, inconsistent pass protection contributed to Calzada’s 40.5 percent passing in the red zone.

“In the red zone, you’ve got to be physical,” Fisher said. “Blocking, moving guys. Things are going to happen quicker, tighter, faster. Understand that mentality.”

The Aggies figure to be better this season. More proven experience in the offensive line — especially on the right side with tackle Reuben Fatheree, guard Layden Robinson and center Bryce Foster returning.

Also, quarterback play projects to be improved with Haynes King, Max Johnson or Conner Weigman at the helm.

“Offensively, with the changes we have we need to be more consistent,” Fisher said.

More consistency should result in more red-zone touchdowns. That should result in more victories.

Discussion from...

Dead to Red: A&M's revamped offense aims for more red-zone touchdowns

3,769 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by SinKiller
jigsaw87
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Caesar4
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SA-AG72
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Matthew99
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AG
huge improvement potential with all other things being equal exists in simply improving this TD to FG ratio in the red zone!
SinKiller
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When you don't have to respect the pass, at all, it makes it a whole lot easier to defend.
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