In 2x2 sets Morehead State offensive coordinator Pat St. Louis will run mirrored RPO route concepts just to give the quarterback a better idea of who that extra run fitter will be post-snap. Read about it here...
By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
Editor’s Note: The following research was conducted as part of XandOLabs.com special report on “Designing RPO Systems,” continue reading for more information on this report.
Flopping the Back
In 2x2 sets Morehead State offensive coordinator Pat St. Louis will run mirrored RPO route concepts just to give the quarterback a better idea of who that extra run fitter will be post-snap. “Years ago, the extra fitter used to be the player opposite the back or the boundary defender,” said Coach St. Louis. “Now many teams ask the field defender or the player away from the back to be the fitter because we used to read everything away from the back. They were outnumbering us to the front and the guy out of the box was fitting and no one was responsible for him. So, we started to run mirror routes so the QB can choose which side he is reading. Who is the B gap player? He will pre-snap which player he is responsible for. He will read both leveraged defenders and make a decision on which player we are influencing. One week it could be the open B gap (shade/5-technique), so pre-snap that is where you’re reading. Another week we can see the fitter always away from the back. So, now we tell him to read the backer away from the back because he is the extra fitter. We go into the game with those pre-snap thoughts and we adjust from there. They will make you think there is five in the box but put the sixth guy somewhere. It’s our job as coaches to figure out who that player is and teach the quarterback.”
Now, if he sees defenses that will align their B gap fitter to the side of back, Coach St. Louis will start to flop his back in order to manipulate the second level defender who is responsible for the B gap in the run. This can come in the form of a zone/stick RPO or a zone/spot RPO. Another instance could be when defenses have their second level backers to the side of the back fill in order to protect routes backside. If Coach St. Louis sees that, he will have the quarterback read the front side defender (Diagram 19) because that will be the extra fitter.
To study an example of this concept, click on the video below:
Designing RPO Systems
X&O Labs’ Brand-New Special Report Reveals How You Can Easily Implement the RPO System Into Your Offense By Using Your Top Formations In Your Best Personnel Groupings In Order to Protect Your Most Productive Run Concepts
RPOs are the “sexiest” concept in football today. It is the hottest topic on the clinic circuit this off-season.
With good reason, the RPO system is the hybrid blend of the two most dynamic offenses in the history of football: the wishbone and the spread. It combines triple option dynamics from spread formations.
With the rise in its popularity, there have been a myriad of books, articles and videos on RPO concepts, most of which do not teach you how to implement them into your system, your terminology, your formations and your run game.
In our popular special report, The RPO Study and in the release of our #1 bestselling book, The Complete RPO Manual, we detailed over three-dozen RPO concepts. They were innovative designs that were supported with illustration and video that allowed coaches to pick and choose a concept or two.
But if you want to commit to running an RPO system, you have to dissect how defenses are defending your run game and attack them. We didn’t show you how to accurately do that in our previous works.
That is why we are excited to announce the release of our brand-new special report….
Designing RPO Systems
This massive study fills the void on how to effectively design and implement RPOs in your offensive system.
When we conducted our research, we consulted only with programs that base at least 50 percent of offensive snaps on post-snap options.
In this groundbreaking study, we delve completely into how these coaches are devising their RPO schemes, which are predicated on box count, front structure and coverage structures. We sat in the spring meeting rooms with these coaches as they broke down the run game from each of their most productive formations and personnel groupings to marry up the complementary pass tags they use to attack those coverages, including ones they will be using next fall.
We broke this special report into four cases and one bonus case:
- Case 1: Run Designation Predicated on Front and Box Count
- Case 2: RPO Formation Designation to Manipulate Conflict Defenders
- Case 3: RPO Route Designation to Manipulate Coverage Structure
- Case 4: RPO Route Designation to Combat Man Coverage
- Bonus Case: Installation Methodologies and the Evolvement of RPOs
Plus, this special report includes:
- Over 2 hours of game film
- 64 videos
- Over 180 diagrams, illustrations and downloads
Whether you’ve been running an RPO system for the last few years or you’re looking to implement the concept for the first time, Designing PRO Systems is a must-read to truly understand how to customize this concept in your offense—using your terminology, your formations, your run game.
Here’s an in-depth look at each case report of Designing RPO Systems:
Case 1: Run Designation Predicated on Front and Box Count
In this case, we wanted to provide coaches with the necessary means to design the run game of these RPO concepts. In doing so, we report on how coaches are constructing these schemes by placing defenders in conflict in order to run the ball more effectively.
Many of our sources were among the top rushing programs in the country this past season, Albion College (MI) rushed for 283 yards per game and Arkansas Tech University rushed for 269 just to name a few. We dug into how these coaches, and others, were using the RPO system to put defenders in pre-snap conflict and manipulate their assignment post-snap. The concepts they were using to do so were based on three components:
- Front Structure
- Box Count
- Field and Boundary Fitters
In this case, we also studied the distinction between the pre-snap vs. post-snap thought process that offensive coordinators were putting on their quarterbacks, which trigger the RPO component of the scheme. Some of the research in this case includes:
- Which front structures are more susceptible to zone schemes.
- Which front structures are more susceptible to gap schemes.
- How coaches are designing the run game of their RPO package based off box count.
- How coaches are designing the run game of their RPO package based off field and boundary run fitters.
- The distinction between the pre-snap and post-snap decision making process of the QB, including how pre-snap reads and access throws can take precedent over the RPO element.
- How coaches like Andrew Breiner at Fordham University are teaching quarterbacks to make pre-snap full field reads based on access before triggering the RPO called.
- How coaches like Scott Girolmo at Robert E. Lee High School (VA) teaches his quarterbacks a “Throw Uncovered” system based on leverage recognition of coverage.
- How coaches like Dustin Beurer at Albion College (MI) teaches his receivers to use number counts on the perimeter to activate the quick screen game.
- Why coaches like Jake Olsen at Loras College (IA) has his quarterbacks not only identify conflict defenders, but “half field defenders” as part of his pre-snap thought process.
Case 2: RPO Formation Designation to Manipulate Conflict Defenders
Once the pre-snap thought process has been ingrained in your quarterback, now it becomes necessary to start designing your RPOs based off the personnel groupings and formations you already have in your system. As an underlining rule, we’ve found that most coaches take the run concepts they use with the most success and protect them formationally by using structures where they can get a hat on a hat. Then, once the extra hat falls in defensively, the run/pass option is added.
This case will focus entirely on how to identify who that extra defender (or conflict player) is based off the formation you present offensively. The RPO game is all about protecting your top runs. So we wanted to dig deeper and help coaches figure out how they can protect their runs based on the defensive structure they are seeing each week. Our sources divulge how they are able to do that using various formations.
Some of the research in this case includes:
- Developing 10 Personnel RPO Designs from 2?2 Open Formations to take advantage of defenses that pull extra run fitters from the field, boundary or to the offset back.
- Developing 10 Personnel RPO Designs from 3?1 Open Formations to take advantage of defenses that pull extra run fitters from the field, boundary or to the offset back.
- Developing 11 Personnel RPO Designs from 2?2 and 3?1 Formations to take advantage of defenses that pull extra run fitters from the field, boundary or to the offset back.
- Developing 11 Personnel RPO Designs from Y/H Off Formations to take advantage of defenses that pull extra run fitters from the field, boundary or to the offset back.
- Developing 20 Personnel RPO Designs from 2?1 Open Formations to take advantage of defenses that pull extra run fitters from the field or boundary.
Case 3: RPO Route Designation to Manipulate Coverage Structure
In this case, we detail which pass concepts coaches are using to stress conflict defenders. Before we start reporting on which run concepts are married with the pass game, there is one important denomination we came across in our research: Interior runs such as zone, power and counter are tied more to horizontal pass concepts while exterior runs such as pin and pull and outside zone are tied more to vertical pass concepts.
The reasoning is simple: The interior runs tighten second and third level defenders (opening up the perimeter alleys), while the perimeter runs widen them (opening up seams in the defense).
These are all new submissions with most coming in the form of post-snap third level reads. In the prior case, we presented research on how to target conflict defenders based off formation. In this case, we present which concepts are used to attack these defenders. We categorized them into specific support patterns.
Some of the research in this case includes:
- Submissions of third level safety manipulations, including those used against Quarters coverage structures that tie the backside safety in for run support.
- Submissions of corner manipulations, including those used against strong side coverage rotations in 3?1 formations.
- Submissions of corner manipulations, including those used against hard or squat corner support.
- Submissions of force defender manipulations in one and two high coverage structures, including bubble (key) variants, speed out variants, hitch variants and slant variants.
- Submissions of fast flow box defender manipulations, including stick variants, slant variants, seam variants and slant variants.
Case 4: RPO Route Designation to Combat Man Coverage
The talk around the clinic circuit this off-season was that man coverage provides a viable answer in defending these RPO schemes. We have the research to back it up. We found that 46 percent of defensive coordinators either use pure man coverage or a version of split field coverage (which essentially turns to man post snap) to defend run/pass option concepts. So this case serves as the pure counterpoint to the topic, how offensive coaches are attacking man coverage in their RPO game.
We’ve segmented our research into the following perspectives of opinion:
- Coaches who rely on quick game methodologies
- Coaches who use stacked and compressed formations.
- Coaches who rely more on the run game component of RPOs
Some of the research in this case includes:
- How coaches are teaching their quarterbacks to identify man coverage structures based off pre and post-snap defensive tendencies.
- How coaches are still using the RPO component against an even box count.
- Various pre and post-snap quick game methodologies used to attack man coverage structures.
- How coaches are breaking off or “shaving” the routes in their RPO system to attack man coverage.
- How coaches are using the same RPO routes off stacked and compressed formations to get receivers in open space in man coverage.
- How coaches are using pre-snap motion to teach their quarterbacks the proper post-snap conflict defender in RPO schemes.
- Which run components of the RPO game coaches are emphasizing against even box counts and coverage structures.
Bonus Case: Installation Methodologies and the Evolvement of RPOs
The difficultly in implementing RPO concepts seems to be the selection process. Once coaches understand how to design them, creativity can take over resulting in an endless amount of concepts. How much does one need in an offensive system? We were curious to see if there was a specific number tagged to installation. We found that number ranged from 5 to 15 total pass tags off various run actions. While we realize that is a broad base to work with, we did research how coaches were devising their installation both in the spring and fall to get to the end goal giving their offense the confidence to be able to run these efficiently.
We segmented our research into the following methodologies:
- Three Day Installations
- Segmented Teaching
We also spin our research forward in this case by revealing which RPO concepts all of our contributors are toying with this spring. Some of the research in this case includes:
- Submissions on the segmented teaching methodology in installing RPO concepts.
- The next chapter of the RPO game: 8 anonymous RPO concepts that offensive coordinators are developing this spring, which may come to a football field near you this fall.
As you’ve just read… the Designing RPO Systems special report is in-depth, detailed and everything you need to significantly increase the production of your offense in 2016. But if you’ve read this far, we’re going to take a guess that you want even more run/pass option reports, videos, drills, downloads and illustrations. Well, take a look at our previous special report that we told you about earlier…
The Run/Pass Option Concept Study:
We released this powerful study in 2015 and it quickly became our #1 special report. It not only takes you inside football programs that have optimized the Run/Pass Option concept to get maximum offensive production, this in-depth special report also gives you the step-by-step guidance needed to train your quarterbacks, manipulate both box and perimeter defenders and everything else you’ll need to effectively implement this system into your program.
To be clear, The Run/Pass Option Concept Study is one of the largest studies ever conducted by X&O Labs. It is 60,000 words, includes 85 detailed diagrams and, best of all, over 2-hours of game film and instructional video.
Here’s exactly what this study includes…
Our research staff studied the most effective implementation strategies for training offensive personnel - especially, the quarterback. Plus, their research also discovered the most effective run/pass option concepts based on attacking box defenders and perimeter defenders.
This study brings you all the latest trends, methods, strategies and concepts that can only come from X&O Labs’ in-depth research.
The Run/Pass Option Concept Study is presented in three cases:
- Case One: Run/Pass Option System Development (Implementation)
- Case Two: Manipulating Box Defenders
- Case Three: Manipulating Perimeter Defenders
2-Hours of Video: The Run/Pass Option Concept Study includes over 2-hours of game film and instructional video. Here’s a complete list of all the RPO concepts available on video:
- Stick Draw
- Stretch Stick Draw
- Empty Stick Draw Concept
- Free Access Throws
- Vertical Settle
- Zone Seam
- Outside Zone/Seam
- TFS Trips Pop
- Zone Cup Pop
- Double Pop Out
- Power Double Out
- ISO Read
- Power Read
- Power Hitch
- Quads Bubble
- Smoke Screen
- Zone Bubble
- Read Spacing
We published both special reports, Designing RPO Systems and The Run/Pass Option Concept Study, including over 4-hours of game film and instructional videos, in our exclusive membership website the Insiders.
Get Access to These Great RPO Special Reports Now!