Can Florida’s offense overcome its past red-zone struggles in 2017?

Landon Watnick, Beat Writer
Inside the Gators

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In his lone interview with the media this spring, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier admitted it right off the bat during his first question.

“The one area we’ve really got to address is the red area, the red zone,” he said back in March. “We haven’t been good in both seasons. Need to improve on that. We spent a lot of time working on that and players are cognizant of it and we’ll continue to improve that.”

If the overall numbers are any proof, “haven’t been good in both seasons” may be an understatement.

Florida made just 42 trips to the red zone in 2016 – tied for second-worst in the conference with Kentucky, as LSU sat at the bottom with just 40 trips. However, Florida’s execution in the red zone was the worst in the conference, scoring on just 71.43% of trips. It was also tied for second-worst in the nation, with Rutgers (68%) sitting at the bottom.

Florida’s 2016 conversion rate is more than three percentage points lower than that of Missouri, which finished the 2016 season with a 4-8 record.

The Gators were among some of the worst teams in the country last season in touchdowns scored on red-zone trips, as Florida went just 50% in that category.

That percentage was actually worse than the 2015 campaign, when Florida scored touchdowns on 56.86% of its 51 red-zone trips. Florida tied for the third-worst conversion rate (66.67%) in the country that year, due to its field goal woes with Austin Hardin and Co. However, kicker Eddy Pineiro, who went 9-of-11 on field goal in his trips to the red zone this season, has been a significant improvement on that end.

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