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OU Insider: Red-zone failures killing Sooners

By Jake Trotter Modified: October 12, 2009 at 10:31 am •  Published: October 12, 2009
NORMAN — It happened against Brigham Young.

It happened against Miami.

Heck, it even happened on one goal-line series against Idaho State.

Despite making overall progress offensively during a 33-7 win over Baylor, Oklahoma’s red-zone woes continued.

Woes that continued, even with Sam Bradford returning at quarterback.

Woes that will doom any chance the Sooners have of beating Texas come Saturday.

Settling for field goals, instead of touchdowns, is a formula for defeat against any quality opponent, like Florida or Texas. Try as they might, the Bears don’t qualify.

"The most frustrating thing was how we played in the red zone,” Bradford said Saturday. "Obviously, we can’t kick field goals the way we did.”

In 2008, the Sooners rarely kicked field goals, leading the nation in converting red-zone opportunities into touchdowns. One major reason why they also led the nation in scoring.

But this team is missing two key advantages from last season: tight end Jermaine Gresham, who has 16 career red-zone touchdown receptions to his name, and an offensive line that overpowered opponents near the goal line.

Without those two advantages, OU hasn’t been nearly as efficient inside the 20 this season.

In eight total red-zone attempts against BYU and Miami, the Sooners managed only three touchdowns.

Both ended in one-point losses. Punch in just one more of those red-zone possessions each game, and OU, for all its shortcomings due to injuries, is 5-0 and in the national-championship race.


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