Longhorn red zone woes continue

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The Longhorn offense has been deathly ill this season, but the good news is the coaches think they’ve finally found the diagnosis — they’re not scoring enough.


But it’s not quite that simple. The Longhorns are moving the ball down the field, but when they get inside the 20-yard line, they choke. So why can’t they score in the red zone?

“I think there are a couple of things,” said offensive coordinator Greg Davis. “One, I think I’ve been a little conservative in the red zone trying to get points. I think there are some opportunities that we had that we didn’t come up with. So we’re going to look at a few things and see if we can give our guys some better chances.”

The truly curious thing is the fact that they’re getting enough yards to score. Texas ranks a mediocre 69th in the nation in yards and a distant 82nd in scoring. At this point last year, the Longhorns had reached the red zone 38 times, scoring 24 touchdowns. Fast-forward to this season’s nightmare, and they’ve reached the red zone 36 times but only scored 15 touchdowns.

“We’ve been able to move the ball down the field pretty well,” said left tackle Kyle Hix. “We just have to be more productive in the red zone and get touchdowns instead of field goals.”

While kicker Justin Tucker racks it up and leads the team in scoring, the rest of Texas’ offense fails miserably. Nearly every regular starter has been responsible for at least one blown touchdown. Whether it’s an interception, a dropped pass, a false start or a bad run, everybody hurts.

“I don’t think it’s one particular reason,” said running back Tre’ Newton. “We’ve just been making mistakes and not executing. I feel like we’ve been hurting ourselves more than anything. We just need to focus more and try to come away with touchdowns.”

It doesn’t matter how much the players and coaches focus on it week in and week out, the Longhorns somehow find a way to come up short. Many have blamed the lack of scoring on Davis’ play-calling, but at some point, the players have to take some of the responsibility.

“The coaches have put a big emphasis on finding the end zone and scoring more touchdowns, especially in the red zone,” Newton said. “I’m sure they’ll have a great game plan for us, and it’s our job to execute that game plan which will hopefully lead to more touchdowns.”

Some have suggested the Longhorns simply place too much pressure on themselves when they’re threatening. Most of their struggles have come at home in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium when 100,000 rowdy fans are on edge, waiting to erupt at a score. Even the Texas Cowboys have prematurely fired Smokey the Cannon several times this season in anticipation of a score that didn’t happen.

“We just need to relax, have fun and execute,” said receiver Malcolm Williams. “It seems like sometimes we get in the red zone and start to get tight. We just really need to go in there and keep pushing forward.”

The toughest part about the lack of red zone scoring is the fact that no one entity is at fault. It’s everyone and anyone near the playing field. But it won’t get much easier this weekend in Kansas State against a defense that has allowed just 11 touchdowns in 25 trips for opponents. They rank 104th in yards allowed and 66th in points allowed. But regardless of how many yards the Longhorns can get, the only number that matters is the score.

“For the last couple of weeks, we have said that there is an area that we need to improve,” Davis said. “We’re just not getting touchdowns.”The Longhorn offense has been deathly ill this season, but the good news is the coaches think they’ve finally found the diagnosis — they’re not scoring enough.

But it’s not quite that simple. The Longhorns are moving the ball down the field, but when they get inside the 20-yard line, they choke. So why can’t they score in the red zone?

“I think there are a couple of things,” said offensive coordinator Greg Davis. “One, I think I’ve been a little conservative in the red zone trying to get points. I think there are some opportunities that we had that we didn’t come up with. So we’re going to look at a few things and see if we can give our guys some better chances.”

The truly curious thing is the fact that they’re getting enough yards to score. Texas ranks a mediocre 69th in the nation in yards and a distant 82nd in scoring. At this point last year, the Longhorns had reached the red zone 38 times, scoring 24 touchdowns. Fast-forward to this season’s nightmare, and they’ve reached the red zone 36 times but only scored 15 touchdowns.

“We’ve been able to move the ball down the field pretty well,” said left tackle Kyle Hix. “We just have to be more productive in the red zone and get touchdowns instead of field goals.”

While kicker Justin Tucker racks it up and leads the team in scoring, the rest of Texas’ offense fails miserably. Nearly every regular starter has been responsible for at least one blown touchdown. Whether it’s an interception, a dropped pass, a false start or a bad run, everybody hurts.

“I don’t think it’s one particular reason,” said running back Tre’ Newton. “We’ve just been making mistakes and not executing. I feel like we’ve been hurting ourselves more than anything. We just need to focus more and try to come away with touchdowns.”

It doesn’t matter how much the players and coaches focus on it week in and week out, the Longhorns somehow find a way to come up short. Many have blamed the lack of scoring on Davis’ play-calling, but at some point, the players have to take some of the responsibility.

“The coaches have put a big emphasis on finding the end zone and scoring more touchdowns, especially in the red zone,” Newton said. “I’m sure they’ll have a great game plan for us, and it’s our job to execute that game plan which will hopefully lead to more touchdowns.”

Some have suggested the Longhorns simply place too much pressure on themselves when they’re threatening. Most of their struggles have come at home in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium when 100,000 rowdy fans are on edge, waiting to erupt at a score. Even the Texas Cowboys have prematurely fired Smokey the Cannon several times this season in anticipation of a score that didn’t happen.

“We just need to relax, have fun and execute,” said receiver Malcolm Williams. “It seems like sometimes we get in the red zone and start to get tight. We just really need to go in there and keep pushing forward.”

The toughest part about the lack of red zone scoring is the fact that no one entity is at fault. It’s everyone and anyone near the playing field. But it won’t get much easier this weekend in Kansas State against a defense that has allowed just 11 touchdowns in 25 trips for opponents. They rank 104th in yards allowed and 66th in points allowed. But regardless of how many yards the Longhorns can get, the only number that matters is the score.

“For the last couple of weeks, we have said that there is an area that we need to improve,” Davis said. “We’re just not getting touchdowns.”