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Rhett Lashlee and the RPO Run Game

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Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee will use the RPO as an extension of the run game. And we should all be OK with it.

Pittsburgh v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

When doing a deep dive into new Miami Hurricane offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s uptempo spread system, something became clear. The RPO (Run pass option) is a huge component of the run game and used almost exclusively as an extension of it.

Make no bones about it, there will be a lot of shotgun components to this furiously paced offense. Whether it be his time as OC at UConn, SMU, or simply his influence under Gus Malzahn at Auburn, an ace gun look was often a quintessential center piece.

There is my caution. I have been a fan of this program for decades and have heard almost every criticism, critique and complaint that bares mentioning. “We are running it too much from shotgun, USE POWER, GO TO THE I-FORMATION!”

Former Hurricane coordinator James Coley comes to mind with those sentiments. Going to I formation isn’t necessarily the fix all either. Ask Mark Richt as he attempted his seemingly 71st fullback dive from the 21 set.

Rhett Lashlee uses leverage and numbers when operating with tempo to give his team the advantage. In this Student of the Game video you will see an example how a wide receiver stack is providing a pre-snap bind and forces the defense into a choice.

You want to commit numbers vs the quick screen on the perimeter? Fine we will run it with a numbers advantage on the interior. You want to stick inside and leverage a linebacker to help commit to the interior? Fine we will hit this bubble screen.

For the record, I am totally OK with this. The advocacy should always align itself with an offense that wants Miami athletes in space. The space doesn’t have to be immense it just simply needs to routinely emerge.

A pre-snap angle on a db, an outside lb shaded inside to take away the QB run, etc. All of these subtle details will allow more one on one opportunities elsewhere. You add the tempo with Miami humidity and you cannot argue that the Hurricanes are void of the advantage.

If there is a game this season where Miami hits 10-15 perimeter quick passes and the running backs total less than 100? Just add the total yards on those quick passes to the run game and you will see the point I am trying to make.

Wins. Miami has not routinely ascertained enough of them. You will always have to run the ball to win routinely. True. But what do you do when a defense sells out to stop the run? This system will make sure to keep defenses in check. That is all you can ask for.