Davis Mulling Changes in 'Red Zone' Offense

Texas' inconsistency inside the Red Zone this season has offensive coordinator Greg Davis pondering his options as Texas' non-conference slate draws to a close Saturday against Rice.

Although there was much that Davis liked about Texas' 35-32 win Saturday at Central Florida, he was particularly disappointed that six trips inside the Red Zone produced just one touchdown. As a result, Ryan Bailey tied a school record with five FGs.

"I appreciate Ryan Bailey," Davis said, "but I'd rather he not score 17 points."

The concern is not limited to the narrow win in Orlando. The Horns have reached the Red Zone 13 times in three games, producing just four touchdowns (31 percent). Texas has also come away empty in four other Red Zone penetrations. Now, Davis intends to "evaluate" his overall scheme that features stretch running plays, counters and delays, as well as a passing game that has emphasized quick-hitting, underneath routes. Or, at least Davis is reconsidering those strategies inside the 20s.

"The field shrinks down there," Davis said. "Some of the throws that we consider runs are tighter down there. We've got to consider whether we need to jump into a '12' situation, or a '21'. Do we need to take a different personality in that area of the field? Through three weeks of the season, some trends start lining up for you, and that's not good. That (Red Zone offense) needs to be better.

Texas failed to score Saturday after forcing a turnover in the Red Zone when RB Jamaal Charles suffered the first of two fumbles.

"The fumbles were not careless," Davis said, "but the ball should have been protected with both hands. The ball was in a good position. It just would have been better if he had two hands on it."

Coaches are also concerned that the offense has been faced with too many second-and-long situations. Those can be attributed to individual breakdowns, particularly along an inexperienced and injury-nicked offensive front, Brown said.

"We're going through a time where we've got to get more continuity on our offensive line," Brown added.

On the positive side, QB Colt McCoy set a new school record with 32 completions in a single game. Davis said he is particularly pleased that Texas completed 12-of-14 passes from empty sets, averaging 9.8 ypc.

"The veteran part of this team are the wide receivers," Davis said. "We have always tried to play to the strength of each team. When you throw a lot of quick passes, you're helping the offensive line because they're not having to hold their blocks as long. If you can use that to augment your running game, it really helps. We're pleased that Jamaal is leading the Big 12 and is ninth in the country in rushing (133 ypg). It (flux in the offensive line) has been a factor in the way we've called the game."

Charles ran for 153 yards on 22 carries (6.9 ypc) Saturday, including a season-best 46 yard TD run around left end. His 33-yard run, where he broke three tackles and spun out of two more, was "one of the great runs we've ever had," head coach Mack Brown said.

Bottom line for Mack Brown: Texas came from behind in the fourth quarter on the road "which is really, really hard to do." The rally, albeit against a 19-point underdog, notched a school-record eight consecutive road wins against non-conference opponents.

Obviously, the competition revs up in a hurry following Saturday's final tune-up against 0-3 Rice. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (CDT) in a Fox Sports Net national telecast.

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