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Clinic Talk: The RPO’s the Hurricanes displayed versus ASU

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Learn more about Coach Richt’s use of RPO’s vs App State

Miami v Appalachian State Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Another week, another talking head confused about what they see on their TV screen. This time it was former Bama QB Greg McElroy (@GregMcElroy, in case you want to tweet at him). Right before the half I tweeted him my pre-game article for SOTU on Miami vs ASU and the need for CMR to run RPO’s. As halftime wrapped up and we came back to the game- there he was talking the basics of RPO.

Miami and Coach Richt used a stalk/bubble RPO (Run Pass Option) to break the back of the Mountaineers to take a 14-0 lead. Much like I said pre-game, Miami was going to have to use RPO’s in order to get an edge on their opponent. With App State late to make substitutions they had to stay pretty base in their defense and couldn’t get an adjustment called.

In the shot above, it’s an easy catch and throw on the bubble with the leverage on the flat defender.

In the shot above, the up-safety/outside linebacker spreads out a little further on the slot. I believe ASU didn’t think Miami was running an RPO and wanted to defend the bubble if it was an “every other” type call.

Working fast caught ASU off guard and as you can see the flat defender is no where to be found. Another easy catch and throw. If you didn’t notice- the gun read is always easier to be post-snap when the back is aligned on the side of the bubble. That way the QB is looking in that direction for IZ at the defensive end and flat defender.

Here ASU looks to bring pressure. I’ve seen this against my RPO’s as well. The team thinks you’re running the football and he plans to force Kaaya to give into a 7 man box. However, he’s running RPO and will pull and throw to the uncovered slot above.

You would think ASU would’ve called a timeout to make an adjustment, but they don’t. Here there’s no flat defender anywhere near the slot and the safety is playing 7 or so off.

Here you can still run bubble because the flat defender is showing too far of inside leverage. Kaaya can post-snap read the flat defender in case he’s a straight sprint out to the flat but he’s not and Kaaya completes another easy bubble.

This is a post-snap RPO read. What that means is because the leverage is 50/50- Kaaya must watch the flat defender while he meshes with the RB. Flat defender runs to the bubble, he gives to the RB. Flat defender sits or chases inside zone- he throws the bubble just like he does above.


App State needed to adjust and move the flat defender over #2 (the slot) and play that deep safety in the “apex” (about 5-6 yards deep and splitting #2 and the end man on the line (EMOL) as I’ve shown in the image above. This would take away a post or four verts while keeping the FS in the alley and the OLB can cut off the bubble.

With a week off I would suspect you’ll see some more RPO tags (slant/bubble, snag, tunnel, etc) against Georgia Tech on October 1st, especially with the Jackets having throttled an improved Vandy squad.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns- tweet at me @IMFB_Blog.