The Florida Gators struggled to score touchdowns once they reached the red zone in 2011, and it was more of the same in their season-opening win over Bowling Green. The Gators took three trips inside the Falcons' 20, but were able to punch it across the goal line just once on those occasions.
That touchdown conversion rate was even worse than last year, when the Gators converted red zone opportunities to touchdowns at a 49% rate, good for just 113th in the country. Florida was lucky to have kicker Caleb Sturgis, as his accuracy on field goals allowed the Gators to score on 86% of their red zone trips overall.
If Florida doesn't want to rely on field goals for offense in 2012, they need to turn those red zone chances into touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease emphasized how much value the Gators are putting into the red zone this season, from alligator.org:
"We can’t settle," Pease said. "We’ve got the best kicker in the nation, but we’ve got to be greedy. We can’t settle for field goals."
The Gator players understand the importance of red zone play, as guard James Wilson explained what it means to score touchdowns instead of field goals.
"That’s how you step on teams," guard James Wilson said. "They’ll tell you, ‘Put the emphasis at the end. That’s how you win.’ That’s definitely our main goal: to score in the red zone."
The Gators will likely need those extra points in the red zone when they travel to College Station to face Texas A&M on Saturday.
For more on the Florida Gators, head over to Alligator Army. For more on Aggies football, visit Good Bull Hunting. For more news, notes and information be sure to check out SBNation's college football hub.