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Neal Brown runs one of the best red zone offenses


More good news for Kentucky football fans, the Wildcats offensive coordinator Neal Brown can now be called one of the best play callers in the red zone. Last week we learned Brown runs the most up-tempo offense in college football with an average of 80 snaps per game, and now we know his Texas Tech offense was one of the most efficient at getting a score when knocking on the door.

It is one of the toughest spots to run an offense from; when the field shrinks, the wide receiver windows tighten, the defense runs even more downhill, you might think running an Air Raid offense becomes even more difficult while in the red zone. That is not what the data says, however. In fact, Pete Roussel at finds that offensive style is irrelevant to how efficient your team is in the red zone.

Over the last three years under Neal Brown, the Red Raiders offense scored touchdowns on 70 percent of red zone opportunities, which is fourth-best in the country. The chart is not a perfect representation for overall productiveness, because it does not factor in possessions that end in field goals, which is far better than coming away with nothing. However, the data is good for seeing which offense gets the most bang for their buck inside the 20-yard line.


Surprisingly, Kentucky did not make the second chart which ranks the bottom half of red zone touchdowns, despite having one of the worst offenses in college football overall last season. If it were ranking just one year, Kentucky is just off the edge of the chart, as the 2012 Cats converted 56 percent of red zone appearances into touchdowns. Brown surely hopes to bring a big improvement.

It’s going to take time to see those numbers climb from near-rock bottom to the top of the charts, but Kentucky surely has the offensive mind in place to get it done. Neal Brown is going to make Kentucky football a fun product to watch.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

15 Comments for Neal Brown runs one of the best red zone offenses

  1. rickshelton
    2:14 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    How did we get this guy? This may be Stoops’ biggest accomplishment. For Stoops, being a defensive coach, to get one of the top offensive minds to move to Lexington is incredible. Thanks for reminding us to be patient. UK is several years away from being a decent SEC team but it will be fun to see the progress.

  2. UKfan w ADD UK fandom
    2:16 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    I can handle this.

  3. Honky Kong
    2:18 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    1- Brown played at Boyle county and also played for UK under Hal Mumme.

  4. STEVE!
    2:29 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    What’s even better is the number of times his team was in the Red Zone, one of the highest on the chart. It’s not like he was efficient, but had few opportunities. On the other hand, I would guess UK’s oportunities last year would have been around the bottom, making the 56% conversion rate irrelevant.

  5. jpgott2
    2:36 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    Our coaching tandem of Stoops and Brown should make UK quite dynamic down the line.

  6. CatsFan12
    2:51 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky hardly ever made it to the Red Zone in the past few years to be included in this analysis.

  7. Steady
    3:28 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    What is this Red Zone you speak of?

  8. Billy G
    3:34 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    Hey, I was undefeated at Kentucky before the season started, too!

  9. tyson
    3:51 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    1–because Brown knows that if Stoops is even semi-successful here in his first 3 years he will be gone and Brown will more than likely be offered the HC position. Luckily, this won’t be another Joker situation because Brown has actually had success at things other than wide receivers coach.

  10. nick
    4:30 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    9- please tell me where stoops would go..? why would he want to go to another school to coach when he’s in the best conference and has an opportunity to bring Kentucky to a top 25 team in 3 years.. why would he want to leave?

    4:33 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    I think with time,(at least 2-3yrs.) this staff will transform UK into a very solid team in the SEC. A team which will be capable of beating the likes of Ala.,Fla.,etc. With continued improved recruitment, and solid coaching and conditioning, the transformation is just around the corner. Should be fun to watch the improvement in the process.

  12. tyson
    4:35 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    10– here are the top 5 reasons he would want to leave:

    1. money
    2. money
    3. money
    4. better program with better history and better prospects
    5. a top tier team in any major conference where he could get to BCS playoffs–he won’t be able to do that at UK and I don’t think we fans expect him to

  13. test
    5:49 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink


  14. Loyd Christmas
    5:52 pm May 15, 2013 Permalink

    Nice haircut. I bet his barber uses the same bowl mine uses.

  15. This Is It..
    12:08 am May 16, 2013 Permalink

    #12..We have to make this where MS doesn’t leave for a lateral move or just a little move up..How often do the top tier coaches you speak of change coaches?..I don’t know whether Kentucky can make the bcs playoffs or not , but I TRULY believe we can be with the UT..SC..etc. and make it to a New Year’s day+ bowl game each yr…