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StatTiger

Notes on Red Zone Offense

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StatTiger    660

Through 4 games into the 2016 season, Auburn has run the ball 75.4 percent of the time inside the red zone.

Last season, Auburn ran the ball 78.7 percent of the time inside the red zone with the national average being 65.2 percent. Auburn ranked No. 118 last year in terms of pass-attempt percentage inside the red zone. The 2015 Auburn offense averaged a TD every 5.3 snaps inside the red zone, which was No. 106 in the nation. The national average last season was a TD every 4.4 snaps.

Auburn's high percentage of run plays inside the red zone makes them extremely predictable. Compounding the issue is a high percentage of run-plays called on 1st down. Once the run plays are taken away, Auburn eventually is forced into obvious passing situations, often in restricted space (inside the 10-yard line). Blocking assignments become more challenging, when opposing defenses overload to defend the run inside the red zone. The national average for yards per rush inside the red zone during 2015 was only 2.83 yards per attempt. Auburn finished at No. 43 nationally, averaging 3.05 yards per rush.

Some have suggested inserting JF3 inside the red zone. Though it might help to some degree, I believe it would only result in a heavier number of run plays called. AU already utilizes KJ frequently in the WC package, which gives Auburn a perimeter and edge rush option. Though JF3 would provide more speed to the edge, I believe opposing defenses would simply sell out to defend him.

IMO, there needs to be more of a pass-option to truly force the defense to account for all the "skill" players on the field inside the RZ.

Malzahn's national rankings in RZ TD Pct:

2008: 8th
2009: 13th
2010: 26th
2011: 66th
2012: 33rd
2013: 13th
2014: 40th
2015: 52nd
2016: 127th

The 2010 and 2013 teams were very good run-offenses difficult to defend anywhere on the field. Even with Nick Marshall in the lineup during 2014, Auburn dropped to No. 40 in RZ TD Percentage. The 2009 offense finished No. 13 in RZ TD percentage and threw the ball 34 percent of the time inside the red zone. Auburn that year was No. 3 in the conference in pass-efficiency inside the red zone. IMO, the coaches must give Sean White the opportunity to throw inside the RZ more often than what we have seen thus far. Auburn is currently No. 10 in the SEC regarding pass attempts made inside the red zone.

The good news is that Auburn is No. 3 in the SEC with 22 trips inside the RZ. They are No. 1 in red zone trips against power-5 competition. At least the offense is putting themselves into position to score. They need to become more efficient to take advantage of the opportunities.

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AUtigers2324    10

Sean threw an interception in what I think was his first trip to the red zone last year. It sure seems like Gus can't let that go. He needs to realize that Sean was a redshirt freshman and he can learn from that mistake. Coach him up and he'll learn to throw it away if it's not there. Let Sean prove that he can adjust.

Edited by AUtigers2324
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McLoofus    3,586
32 minutes ago, AUtigers2324 said:

Sean threw an interception in what I think was his first trip to the red zone last year. It sure seems like Gus can't let that go. He needs to realize that Sean was a redshirt freshman and he can learn from that mistake. Coach him up and he'll learn to throw it away if it's not there. Let Sean prove that he can adjust.

It seems Gus is much less interested in helping his QBs than in going out and finding one who can lift his offense up for him. 

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JwgreDeux    242

This week Tony Stevens had his hands on two balls on plays in the redzone. One was a jump-ball in the endzone, and the other was a very nice throw from SW that would have gotten the ball to the 2 yard line or so. 

But agreed we need to throw it more down there, and on first down in general.

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CleCoTiger    465
3 hours ago, StatTiger said:

The 2009 offense finished No. 13 in RZ TD percentage and threw the ball 34 percent of the time inside the red zone. Auburn that year was No. 3 in the conference in pass-efficiency inside the red zone. IMO, the coaches must give Sean White the opportunity to throw inside the RZ more often than what we have seen thus far. 

This! A thousand times this!  

I hope CRL remembers more of what made 2009 with Todd, Tate, McCalebb, Adams, Blake et. al. go than Gus seems to.  Sometimes I think having Marshall (and Cam before him) sort of skewed some of Gus's thinking. You have an accurate QB and a talented crop of frosh receivers, you oughta give 'em a chance. And with opposing D's loading up the box to stop the run because of AU's tendencies, there's gonna be a chance for one of those receivers to go up and get the ball if Sean can deliver it (which I am confident that he can.) 

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CleCoTiger    465
4 hours ago, McLoofus said:

It seems Gus is much less interested in helping his QBs than in going out and finding one who can lift his offense up for him. 

Hope you turn out to be wrong about that, especially now that CRL is handing play calls. (My understanding is that as a high school QB under Malzahn, Lashlee slung it around a good deal. Doesn't seem like he'd be a "true dual-threat QB" to me, but heck if I really know.)

When Gus got here, his rep (especially post-Tulsa with what he and Hand were able to do there) seemed to be one of a coach who adjusted to fit his players. I've been kind of concerned that he's been wandering the wilderness hoping to turn over a rock and find the next Nick Marshall or Cam Newton instead of tending to the crop he already has in the field back home. Anyway, with CRL handling play calls it may be that CGM has recognized this for himself, or been helped in recognizing it.

Edited by CleCoTiger
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McLoofus    3,586
1 hour ago, CleCoTiger said:

Hope you turn out to be wrong about that, especially now that CRL is handing play calls. (My understanding is that as a high school QB under Malzahn, Lashlee slung it around a good deal. Doesn't seem like he's be a "true dual-threat QB" to me, but heck if I really know.)

When Gus got here, his rep (especially post-Tulsa with what he and Hand were able to do there) seemed to be one of a coach who adjusted to fit his players. I've been kind of concerned that he's been wandering the wilderness hoping to turn over a rock and find the next Nick Marshall or Cam Newton instead of tending to the crop he already has in the field back home. Anyway, with CRL handling play calls it may be that CGM has recognized this for himself, or been helped in recognizing it.

Exactly what I was trying to say. You said it better. 

Whatever happens with the Rhett experiment, I'm glad we're going forward with it. Clearly a change is needed. 

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leglessdan    243
1 hour ago, CleCoTiger said:

Hope you turn out to be wrong about that, especially now that CRL is handing play calls. (My understanding is that as a high school QB under Malzahn, Lashlee slung it around a good deal. Doesn't seem like he's be a "true dual-threat QB" to me, but heck if I really know.)

When Gus got here, his rep (especially post-Tulsa with what he and Hand were able to do there) seemed to be one of a coach who adjusted to fit his players. I've been kind of concerned that he's been wandering the wilderness hoping to turn over a rock and find the next Nick Marshall or Cam Newton instead of tending to the crop he already has in the field back home. Anyway, with CRL handling play calls it may be that CGM has recognized this for himself, or been helped in recognizing it.

It's also carried over to the fans as well. Lots of people think you can only be successful with a DT like Cam or Nick. It's embedded into their psyche. It's easy to spot reading the comments in here. I think he's being stubborn on the ZR because he don't want to scare away DT QBs due to him changing his system. Despite the fact that any offense would benefit from that element. DeShawn Watson...Lamar Jackson, both DT QBs, yet they sling the ball all over the field. 

I might even venture out on a limb and say that we missed out on Watson because all Gus wants to do is run the ball and selectively pass. Clemson slings the ball all over to their WRs.

Edited by leglessdan
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JGLEATON    255

Gotta throw it more... gotta catch it more... we will win more.

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Randman5000    467
11 hours ago, AUtigers2324 said:

Sean threw an interception in what I think was his first trip to the red zone last year. It sure seems like Gus can't let that go. He needs to realize that Sean was a redshirt freshman and he can learn from that mistake. Coach him up and he'll learn to throw it away if it's not there. Let Sean prove that he can adjust.

Neither can fans. 

Stat proves my point I made in SW thread. We are predictable and we don't throw in the red zone. 

We don't throw into the end zone either so that shorts us even more. 

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CleCoTiger    465
20 minutes ago, Randman5000 said:

Neither can fans. 

Stat proves my point I made in SW thread. We are predictable and we don't throw in the red zone. 

We don't throw into the end zone either so that shorts us even more. 

Outa likes for today. Dang!

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AU64    1,937

Just curious...but what is the nature of football ?  Just wondering how other teams call plays in the red zone.  Is our problem the plays called...or lack of execution on those plays ?     That would require some digging.

But.... I've always been told that it is more difficult to pass successfully inside the twenty and even more-so inside the ten because the defense has much less turf to defend and can ignore anything deep.....so the density of defenders makes it more difficult for a receiver to get open? 

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leglessdan    243
14 minutes ago, AU64 said:

Just curious...but what is the nature of football ?  Just wondering how other teams call plays in the red zone.  Is our problem the plays called...or lack of execution on those plays ?     That would require some digging.

But.... I've always been told that it is more difficult to pass successfully inside the twenty and even more-so inside the ten because the defense has much less turf to defend and can ignore anything deep.....so the density of defenders makes it more difficult for a receiver to get open? 

Both. 

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Eagle-1    445
2 hours ago, AU64 said:

Just curious...but what is the nature of football ?  Just wondering how other teams call plays in the red zone.  Is our problem the plays called...or lack of execution on those plays ?     That would require some digging.

But.... I've always been told that it is more difficult to pass successfully inside the twenty and even more-so inside the ten because the defense has much less turf to defend and can ignore anything deep.....so the density of defenders makes it more difficult for a receiver to get open? 

Much more difficult on third down than on first. 

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Linayus    142

Just my thoughts on the red zone offense - we don't even try to hit the corners with jump balls (we tried maybe 3 times last season?) and Sean White doesn't have that sharp quick release to get the ball in to tight coverage in that short of a field. That also seems to be a problem (along with perimeter blocking) with our lack of yards on the WR screens we love doing.

Of course, we don't really know much about Sean in the red zone since we love to pull him out and never throw so he could prove me totally incorrect in my assessment!

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Tiger Scout    37

didnt rhett call the plays last year and we were terrible. i know we had major qb struggles but seems like rhett will either be consider a success or be gone at end of the year.

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leglessdan    243
48 minutes ago, Tiger Scout said:

didnt rhett call the plays last year and we were terrible. i know we had major qb struggles but seems like rhett will either be consider a success or be gone at end of the year.

To my knowledge they've always shared duties aside from a game or two, but who truly knows. As others have said, I think it's a sink or swim deal for Rhett, and next year there will be a new OC. I'd like them to salvage the season and make something of it, but at this point if K Briles is willing to come here then that would be my choice moving forward.

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McLoofus    3,586
18 hours ago, Linayus said:

Just my thoughts on the red zone offense - we don't even try to hit the corners with jump balls (we tried maybe 3 times last season?) and Sean White doesn't have that sharp quick release to get the ball in to tight coverage in that short of a field. That also seems to be a problem (along with perimeter blocking) with our lack of yards on the WR screens we love doing.

Of course, we don't really know much about Sean in the red zone since we love to pull him out and never throw so he could prove me totally incorrect in my assessment!

Post more often.

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CleCoTiger    465
22 hours ago, Tiger Scout said:

didnt rhett call the plays last year and we were terrible. 

Rhett (mostly) called the plays in the win over aTm last season is the word. Other than that. mostly Malzahn.

Edited by CleCoTiger

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Win4AU    195
On 9/27/2016 at 10:49 AM, AUtigers2324 said:

Sean threw an interception in what I think was his first trip to the red zone last year. It sure seems like Gus can't let that go. He needs to realize that Sean was a redshirt freshman and he can learn from that mistake. Coach him up and he'll learn to throw it away if it's not there. Let Sean prove that he can adjust.

That was the same play Sean got sacked on against LSU.  Both times SW should have thrown it away.  I'd have to go back and look but I feel like there is limited options on that play if the primary receiver isn't open. 

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oracle79    817
2 hours ago, Win4AU said:

That was the same play Sean got sacked on against LSU.  Both times SW should have thrown it away.  I'd have to go back and look but I feel like there is limited options on that play if the primary receiver isn't open. 

The sidelines and the stands are open on every play.  Just don't make them an option on 4th down.

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Linayus    142

Okay, so my question on Tiger Talk this week was kind of glossed over by Gus so I'll propose the question here since it was focused on red zone plays and specifically the Wildcat with Kerryon instead of JFIII.

Is anyone else sensing hesitation from the coaches in playing JFIII or am I just imagining it? Defenses know Kerryon is running the ball when he's in Wildcat. With JF3 you're getting the same thing but his speed and elusiveness might be more effective than Kerryon's sometimes hard running (when the o-line doesn't fail him anyway). You could always have him do the read option with Kerryon and make the defense actually account for both runners.

We need more help and options in the red zone so this seems like a sensible choice to me. Maybe he'll actually answer my question against ULM tomorrow. :)

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