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By Jhett Norman
Levelland High School (TX)
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Since arriving at Levelland High School, running the counter concept has been our primary scheme. Regardless of being in the spread or in the “I,” counter has been the one constant of the offense. We have found that in order to combat defenses, we have had to have various ways to run the counter.
This year we adopted an RPO mentality, and found a way to mesh counter run game along with a sneak bubble concept. As the season progressed we established five RPO plays, and the counter scheme was my favorite as well as one of the most successful plays that we ran. When we run our RPO's we are looking to throw first and run second.
The base formation for our counter scheme is 3x1. The back is positioned beside our QB to the trips. Our landmarks are always middle of the numbers with the outside receiver - our Z (most people's Y) flexes 5 yards from the tackle and the F splits the difference between the Z and Y.
Play Sde Tackle - Down - Block first guy inside - Release inside of a head up 4 or 5-tech to backer - 4i /3 down on them
Play Side Guard - Down - Block first guy inside - Chip a 3-technique to inside backer - Double a 2-tech - to inside backer.
Center - Down - Block first guy inside - Combo a nose guard to backside backer - If you are uncovered you pull and kick out first guy outside of the PST - We only pull when we have a 3 or 4i backside.
Back Side Guard - Pull - Kick out first guy outside of the PS tackle - We call this a long pull - We say "you, you" to alert the center to pull when we have a 3 or 4i on our side.
Back Side Tackle - Pull seal up inside of the combo block. We call this a short pull. Versus a stack, we will kick out on the stacked backer over the 4-technique play side. If we are facing a team that starts blitzing the backside hard we will pull check the BS T much like he would do when running the power.
Tailback - Flashes across Q's face and cuts the backside DE - essentially replaces the tackle.
We call this play “Norman” when we run it left.
All of our RPO's are named after states to the right and cities to the left.
In any of our 3x1 formations, our first read is always to the single receiver. If the defense is aligned to where we can get the X the ball, we will take a shot. Our base read is the safety. If the safety is on or inside the hash, we will throw him the ball. We have two standard routes that are provided to the X receiver. Against press or tight coverage, he runs a fade or skinny post depending on if the corner is inside or outside. If the corner is playing off or bailing on the snap, we will run a comeback.
If not, that initial option is taken away and we shift our read to the trip receiver side.
If we face teams who start squeezing or cutting our long puller, we will have the guard log the defensive end rather than kick him out. Our back side tackle, the short puller will turn up inside the long puller and look inside for the first linebacker second level. If the linebacker is flying over the top, we will continue to work inside, instead of chasing the linebacker. The one exception in our rules is when we are playing a stack team. Against a stack defense, we will have the short puller kick out the stacked linebacker over the 4 or 5-technique.
The running back flashes across the face of the QB and goes and cuts the back side defensive end. We want a cut block out of him in order to slow the defender down. Our quarterback will drop the ball down, but doesn't stick the ball in the running back's belly to help with ball security. It is the running back's responsibility to sell the fake. From this point he will get into a throwing position. We emphasize the fact that the ball must come out quick in order to avoid getting called for linemen down field. In most cases, he does not perform a standard drop when throwing the ball. It is more of a set and throw motion. If the QB feels pressure or does not have an open receiver, he has the option of running QB counter.
Counter Gut RPO Continues…
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- Sneak/Crawfish RPO concept off Counter Gut run action.
- Dart RPO concept off Counter Gut run action.
- Adjustments when getting pressure to the read side of the concept.
- What to do when defenses start cutting the long puller in the run game.
- VIDEO: Watch game film on all these concepts.
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Going back at the end of the season, this particular scheme was ran about 65% when we would run an RPO play. As stated earlier, we ran five different RPO plays, and would often times call this run scheme with other RPO route concepts. We ended up running RPOs about 40% of the time, but later in the season, especially district and the playoffs, we put a big emphasis on running RPOs more often… probably upwards of 60%. We like the versatility of RPO, and the difficulties they present to a defense.
Meet Coach Norman: Jhett Norman has been coaching for 9 years and has served as the offensive coordinator at Levelland High School for the past 3 years. He moved from coaching the offensive line for the previous 6 years to quarterbacks this season. This year, his offense transitioned into the spread and had a first team all-state receiver who caught 80 balls for 1,743 yards and 20 TDs. In 2014, his QB threw for 3,511 yards, 37 TDs and rushed for 911 and 12 TDs. His team won their first playoff game this season for the 1st time in 18 years.
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Plus, with your Insiders membership, you’ll also get full access to X&O Labs’ Run/Pass Option Concept Study. This powerful study 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.
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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
Whether you've been running the Run/Pass Option for the last few years or you're looking to implement the concept for the first time, X&O Labs' in-depth special report, The Run/Pass Option Concept Study, is your best resource for maximizing the full power of this new form of option football.
We published The Run/Pass Option Concept Study, including over 2-hours of game film and instructional videos, in our exclusive membership website the Insiders.