Red Zone Results

Patrick Garbin, Staff
GA Varsity
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PAT’s WEEKLY STAT (you likely won’t see anywhere else—and, probably for good reason): Of the 25 major team statistical categories, according to the NCAA, Georgia currently ranks first in one of them—and, perhaps surprisingly, it is not a defensive or special teams category: Red Zone Offense.

The Bulldogs are tied for first with 11 teams (of the 130-member FBS) by scoring 100 percent of the time they reach the Red Zone (19 of 19: 14 touchdowns, five field goals). However, similarly to what I’ve stated here before, and as Kirby Smart recently said, “You might be 100 percent [in the Red Zone] but you may not be scoring touchdowns.” Accordingly, Georgia’s 14 touchdowns in 19 trips to the Red Zone, or a RZ touchdown percentage of 73.7, is tied for 28th in the FBS. Notably, the FBS, as a whole, has a RZ TD percentage of 63.0.

Although it’s still early in the season, I thought I’d see how Georgia's current RZ TD percentage compared to those from its past. The Bulldogs' top and bottom five seasons for the measurement:

UGA's Top and Bottom 5 Seasons in Offensive RZ TD Percentage (1993-2016)

TOP Seasons

Off. RZ TD %

BOTTOM Seasons

Off. RZ TD %

2012

76.0

2001

39.1

2004

74.0

1995

42.2

1998

71.1

2015

42.9

2007

69.8

1999

48.9

2014

67.2

2003

50.8

Note: The school began releasing annual Red Zone statistics in 1993. Postseason statistics were not considered in annual totals until 2002. The Bulldogs’ RZ TD percentage for the entire 25-season period prior to this season is 59.1.

Notwithstanding, aside from just touchdowns, Smart also said that Georgia has its own way of measuring Red Zone success: “points per possession,” according to the head coach. Considering extra-point statistics for Red Zone possessions are not readily available (even for this season), and essentially any missed PATs likely counterbalance made two-point conversions, I determined a Red Zone touchdown as seven points (and, obviously, a RZ field goal as three), resulting in points per RZ possession.

Subsequently, Georgia’s current average of 5.95 points per RZ possession ranks 21st in the FBS (FBS average is 5.06). Like above, I thought I’d see how the Bulldogs’ current points per RZ possession compared to those the quarter-century before. Its top and bottom five seasons for the measurement—and the seasons listed below should look somewhat familiar:

UGA's Top and Bottom 5 Seasons in Offensive Points Per RZ Possession (1993-2016)

TOP Seasons

Points Per RZ Poss.

BOTTOM Seasons

Points Per RZ Poss.

2004

5.96

2001

3.72

2012

5.62

1995

4.02

2007

5.45

2015

4.07

1998

5.37

1999

4.09

2009

5.34

1996

4.26

Note: Georgia’s average points per RZ possession for the entire 25-season period prior to this season is 4.87.

Finally, I broke down Georgia’s Red Zone touchdown percentage and points per possession beginning in 1993 (and including this season) by the team’s six primary play-callers during that span, whether the head coach or offensive coordinator. Comparatively speaking, the Red Zone results for some play-callers, like the Bulldogs’ current offensive coordinator, may be surprising to some:

UGA's Touchdown % and Points Per Possession in the Red Zone by Play-caller (1993-Present)

Play-caller

Seasons

Total Trips in the RZ

RZ TD %

Points Per RZ Poss.

Wayne McDuffie

1993-1995

132

50.8

4.55

Jim Donnan

1996-2000

207

59.4

4.71

Mark Richt

2001-2006

313

55.6

4.72

Mike Bobo

2006-2014

440

65.9

5.23

Brian Schottenheimer

2015

41

41.5

4.00

Jim Chaney

2016-Present

64

60.9

5.11

Note: Not included are two seasons (1991 and 1992) in which Wayne McDuffie called the Bulldogs’ plays. Mark Richt called the plays until the 2006 Georgia Tech game, whereupon Mike Bobo followed until the 2014 Liberty Bowl. Brian Schottenheimer was not on staff for the final game of the 2015 season.

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