There was a ton of information to be had as Nebraska football held limited media availability at practice on Wednesday. One thing stood out to me in particular. Nebraska football has been emphasizing red zone offense. This is good news, considering that was an area they struggled in last year.
The Huskers ranked 15th in all of college football last season with 30 red zone scores. Their conversion percentage however ranked them 43rd in the country at .857. That was tied with Charlotte, Fresno State, and Texas. That is a number that certainly needs to be improved upon.
Matt Lubick and the rest of the coaching staff have worked this offseason to try to improve that red zone offense. In speaking to the media on Wednesday, the coach gave a little bit of insight into what he has done to try and right the ship. Red zone possessions are crucial. With the tough schedule that Nebraska football has for 2021, every red zone possession may mean that much more.
As noted by Lubick, the coaching staff has been studying NFL offenses. Watching with tight ends coach Sean Beckton and the rest of the coaches, this has been a point of emphasis. To me, this is a great thing. In by two years covering the team, the red zone offense has left a lot to be desired. It’s painful to watch at times.
Help may be on the way
Lubick, Beckton, and others are looking to correct that. Truthfully, if they can get the red zone offense into a place where it can consistently succeed, they will be in good shape. Learning from the NFL is not necessarily a bad thing, either.
The red zone offense has been emphasized the heck out of, according to Lubick. Beckton said he and the OC spent a lot of times watching NFL offenses. But really, Lubick found the Huskers beat themselves in the red zone a lot last year by lack of execution and protecting the football. Beckton has challenged his guys to win balls in traffic down there.
“Part of it is just a mindset saying, ‘Hey, I’m not going to have as much room. I’m going to have to win my one-on-one battle no matter what position I am,” Lubick said.
Winning the day is crucial for any offense, and the Nebraska football receivers, running backs, and tight ends will have to rise to the challenge. Games are won and lost in the red zone. There is little margin for error, and every opportunity in the red zone is important.
You have heard me talk about cleaning up the little things over the past couple of years in covering camp. If Nebraska football were to clean up their act in the red zone, that would be huge. One step at a time.