When Kirk Herbstreit butchered the three most important letters in football on the same day Mark Richt tried to jam a square peg into a wall of a hole I realized this article was necessary. RPI... is that right Herby? No, it’s RPO. Run Pass Option. The idea that Chris B Brown (not the abusive asshole), Dana Holgorsen, and well me and my old Offensive Coordinator and fellow “Coachspeak” podcast co-host Sean Davidson. While Sean and I figured this out over a hundred beers (Dana probably did too) at the Gnarly Barley in Belle Isle, Florida; Herbstreit hopefully figured it out by following my advice and visiting my coaching blog Ironmanfootballblog.com.
What is an RPO and how would it help the #Canes?
An RPO means that a passing combination is built into every running play. In the image above, the Hurricanes’ offense is stuck in a run against what’s practically an 8 man box. That’s a lot of pride or a lack of understanding on how to get out of this situation. If I remember right, the ‘Canes run for 0 yards setting up a 3rd and goal at the 9 or so. If they had an RPO in (let’s say slant from the X and bubble from the Z) the situation might have wound up different.
Pre-snap, the QB looks at a few key pieces in the RPO:
- The Shell- is there 1 or 2 high safeties?
- What is the leverage of the flat defender on the slot?
- What is the leverage of the corner on the WR?
- Count the box! 6 men = run, 7 = run or pass, 8 = pass should be available
There are five options to employ in an RPO based on inside zone read which are:
- slant away from the bubble
- slant to the bubble
- the bubble
- give to the running back
- pull and keep
While it looks like Kaaya is possibly looking RPO, the ‘Canes ran into even worse leverage during the course of the game than the clip above, with the safety over the slot at 10 yards or more and 8 in the box you have to throw the bubble or even a pop pass RPO, you can’t run into that box.
RPO’s aren’t just a thing in the shotgun, many teams run them from under center as well. In the GIF below the #Canes try to run into another stacked box.
While it’s a 7-man box it’s also a 2-high shell. So at that point the QB thinks it’s even. However, the leverage on the slot is perfect for an RPO. It’s inside leverage which would make for an easy snag/bubble or slant/bubble combo.
As you can see above, Kaaya instead is stuck giving the zone instead of pulling and throwing to get a talented slot in space.
If Miami wants to find success against an athletic and well coached program like App State, the Hurricanes need to employ RPO’s and if you have any questions, comments or concerns contact me on Twitter @IMFB_Blog.