It was only a matter of time before a Pro Style coach started implementing RPOs at the high school level. Josh Franke is that coach. Find out how he is doing it here...
By Josh Franke
Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator
Newton Falls High School (OH)
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Every team I had ever coached was a spread based team. We ran several RPOs, several different Quarterback read plays, and crazy spread formations to catch teams off guard. With every year that our staff ran these plays, we noticed that the defenses were getting faster. Running backs and Wide Receivers were lining up on the defensive line, safeties were playing linebackers, and defensive units were loading up with speed.
When I arrived at Newton Falls, I realized we couldn’t combat this trend and match the athleticism we we’re seeing on Friday nights. Our team speed wouldn’t allow for it. We needed a new way to package what we have done for years including the north south run game. In the end, we took some aspects from old school power football offenses and applied some new methodology spread / RPO methodologies. This has given us the needed firepower to fight back against the faster, modern defenses.
RPOs in Pro Style Packages
One of the things we’ve had great success with has been taking the idea of a RPO plays and packaged plays from the spread and adding it to our I-Formation and Pro-Style packages. When you run a lot from under center you tend to play defenses that do one of two things; play press man on you and blitz the house or run a zone on you such as Cover 2/Cover 3/ Press Quarters to help safeties be more active in stopping the run. One way we combated this was with our I-Stack ISO or Power Shark play.
We have run this play as both an RPO and a packaged play depending on the ability of the QB to make the read. This past season we used it as a packaged play where the Quarterback would decide based off defensive alignment what we would run. The formation we like it out of the most 21 personnel I formation with stacked WRs. Opposite of the tight end, we spread our X out wide and have our Z stack right behind him. This formation creates difficulties for defenses and forces them to make some adjustments.
Typically, this look pulls a safety out of the box in man or forces a linebacker to apex in zone coverages, both good things for the design of the play. Even in man coverage, someone is covering a stacked Z who is shielded making the defense unable to play bump and run, forcing them to either play deep off or bracket inside, either of these we can use as an advantage.
Continue to the full-length version of this report…
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- How 21 personnel, stack formation structures creates defensive alignment issues and negates bump and run coverage.
- How packaging a play side isolation causes apex players to cheat the box, opening the alley for the “shark” concept.
- How Coach Franke teaches the quarterback to make the right pre and post snap read based on the alignment and movement of the read key.
- How using tackle over formations puts pressure on the defense to align properly by removing an extra player from the box.
- Plus game film on this concept.
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Our Power Shark concept has been a great addition to our offense. It allows us to slow the defense down and create favorable matchups for us depending on how a defense aligns. When defenses begin to bring down safeties into the box, this concept allows us to create a situation in which we believe we can be successful in. With the addition of different variations of an unbalanced line to the stack side and our Shark special it has become a very difficult play for defenses to adjust and plan for.
Meet Coach Franke: Josh Franke is coming off his 6th season as a Head Varsity football coach and second season at Newton Falls High School. He has also served one season as an offensive coordinator in the arena league. At two different high schools he has had three Quarterbacks set passing records and his offenses hold the total yardage records at each of those respected schools. In six seasons, he has had 7 different backs reach the 1,000yd rushing mark in a season.