August 18, 2009

Practice Notebook: A&M works on red zone Tuesday

Texas A&M hit the practice fields Tuesday morning for one session that was devoted mostly to play in the red zone. In 2008, the Aggies suffered inside the 20-yard line on both side of the ball. On offense, A&M scored 81-percent of the time in the red zone with 26 touchdowns and four field goals in 37 attempts. Defensively, teams scored 84-percent of the time against the Aggies with 38 touchdowns and 14 field goals in 62 attempts - an NCAA high in 2008.

Tuesday the Aggies hoped to improve in the red zone, and it all started with head coach Mike Sherman breaking practice in order to talk to his team about the red zone and its importance.

"I was talking about the red zone and what we have to do in the red zone and how important it is. When you get the ball inside the 18-yard line most good teams are going to kick a field goal there, but the defense can still win if they keep four points off the scoreboard by keeping them out of the end zone," Sherman said. "On the same lines a turnover in the red zone by the offense is like giving the defense seven points in my mind. A turnover returned for a touchdown is like a 14-point deferential, so what I did is I just explained to both sides of the ball.

"On offense the things that kill you are turnovers, sacks, penalties. A three-yard run in the red zone are good runs because the safeties are tighter, the goal line is closer, the end line is closer so our receivers have to be great blockers for us to have a good running game down there. We just talked about all the logistics in the red zone, what needs to happen in the red zone and we weren't very good at it on either side of the ball last year so there has to be improvement this year. I think we're headed that way."

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