SF Roosevelt High School (SD) has been in the state championship three of the last four seasons and the Shovel/Bubble triple option is a big reason why. In this article, Coach Stubkjaer explains how he blocks the scheme against the various fronts he sees on weekly basis as well as how the quarterback is taught to identify and read his post-snap movement key.
By James Stubkjaer
Offensive Line Coach
SF Roosevelt High School (SD)
Like many RPO concepts, this play started out as a simple Power Shovel play. But when our head coach decided to married the bubble play the power shovel it really began to take off for us. This is one of a few RPO plays that we employ, where we will put defensive players in conflict and take what the defense gives us based on a combination of pre-snap/post-snap reads. This, of course, requires our quarterback to process information and make decisions on the fly, but gives him multiple options for this one play.
As part of our spread concept, we put an emphasis on spreading out the box players as well. Our offensive linemen are in a two-point stance with wide splits that could range anywhere from 2’-4’ depending on the play. I know that some people believe that having linemen in two-point stance hurts the physicality in the run game, but that would be contrary to my experience. In the five years that we have used this technique, we have averaged over 31 points per game, over 200 rushing yards game rushing, and a minimum of 5.4 yards per carry.
We also want our level off of the ball to be as far back as legally possible. The levels off the ball are the key for the linemen in this offense because it allows them time to use their technique and make their blocks. The rule in South Dakota is that the facemask of the offensive lineman must break the plane of the centers hip. Once our center is set in his stance, the guard will adjust his splits accordingly, and we like to have our guards place the toe of their inside foot, so that it would touch an imaginary line drawn parallel to the heels of the center. Our tackles, then line up their inside foot, so that it would be parallel to the toe of the inside foot of the guard. If you view our formations from the side, you will see the center out and the guards/tackles will be in a straight line, as far back off of the center as we can get.
As a general rule, we are a gap-man blocking team but we often couple those concepts with inside zone rules on the back side. We lean heavily on the skip pull technique for our pullers but we also use open pull techniques at times.
Power Shovel / Bubble Concept:
Here in South Dakota, we predominantly see 4-3 and 3-4 fronts and the occasional 30-stack defense. We have found that this concept can work against any of these looks with a few formation changes.
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- Coach Stubkjaer’s blocking assignments for the shovel/bubble against 4-3 fronts including the quarterbacks pre-snap identification post-snap read.
- Coach Stubkjaer’s blocking assignments for the shovel/bubble against 3-4 fronts including the quarterbacks pre-snap identification post-snap read.
- Coach Stubkjaer’s blocking assignments for the shovel/bubble against 30 stack fronts including the quarterbacks pre-snap identification and post-snap read.
- Plus film cutups of the shovel/bubble RPO against various fronts.
We have found the Power Shovel/Bubble combo to be the toughest RPO for our opponents to stop. You can take this play, and dress it however you want to fit into almost any offensive scheme. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, and that you can take something from it to help improve your program. Special thanks to Jared Smith for his help putting this article together.
Meet Coach Stubkjaer: James Stubkjaer currently serves as the offensive line coach at SF Roosevelt, a 3A school powerhouse football program in South Dakota. He has coached varsity football in South Dakota for 15 years. SF Roosevelt has been in the South Dakota State Championship three out of the last four years, winning one championship during that time.