Red Zone Efficiency
In many ways, the Vols’ 2017 squad might’ve been the most inefficient team Tennessee has ever fielded. At least the 2012 squad had a potent offense, and the 2008 team had a decent defense. The Vols were just bad on both sides of the ball last year, and that was never more apparent than when they were in the red zone.
Tennessee’s offense struggled to score when they were in the red zone (you need only watch the Florida game to be reminded of that), and they especially had trouble getting touchdowns once they were inside the 20-yard line. The Vols had the third-fewest red zone possessions on offense in the SEC last season (35), and they only scored on 80 percent of those possessions. That’s bad enough, but only 54.3 percent of those possessions ended in touchdowns, which was the worst in the SEC and 101st in the FBS.
But if you think Tennessee’s red zone offense was bad, wait till you see how bad their defense was in the red zone.
The Vols allowed opponents to score in the red zone a staggering 90 percent of the time, and 70 percent of those 50 possessions by opponents in the red zone ended in touchdowns. Those two stats ranked 119th and tied for 110th in the FBS respectively.
Tennessee had a scoring problem overall last season, but they especially had a bad time when they got close to the opponents’ end zone or when opponents got close to their end zone. Both of these areas need to see drastic improvement in 2018.