By Eric Bendig, Offensive Coordinator, Ashley Ridge High School, Summerville, SC
Like many offensive coaches studying the RPO system, Ashley Ridge High School (SC) offensive coordinator Eric Bendig decided to take one of his top formations, the Bunch formation, and blend it with his top run and pass concepts. The result was the Bunch Pop RPO, which helped the Foxes gain 4,117 yards of offense, averaged 6.3 yards per play and 33 points per game this season. In this exclusive clinic report, Coach Bendig details the three post-snap options he utilizes in the concept and variables the affect the decision making process of the quarterback. Read the report here.
By Eric Bendig
Ashley Ridge High School, Summerville, SC
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A lot of spread teams, like ourselves, are really starting to hone in and perfect the concept of run pass options (RPO’s) and how to utilize them in your game plan and philosophy. After going back and researching the season, we found that we relied heavily on two Bunch play concepts and became very good at executing them over the season. We did balance out our Bunch formation with runs and passes as to not be too easily scouted by opposing defenses, but this article is focused on how we used a 3 option RPO concept out of Bunch sets and a Bunch pass play we have a lot of success with on 2nd and 3rd and medium situations.
One of the ways we tried to help get the ball in space or at least help us loosen the box for our run game was to utilize the Bunch formation in different areas of the field. You can break down the options/rules into three simple steps for the quarterback, while the ten other players ran the play called no matter what the defense gave them.
One great aspect of the play is the ability to set it anywhere we are on the field. Maybe you don’t have the arm at QB to make the throws across the field. You may also get a glimpse of what the defense will do during your film study. However you decide to set the play, wide or boundary doesn’t change the concept of the play. All the reads remain the same and the QB must be aware of his reads and keys. Set the bunch wide enough to spread the field, but you can still keep them close enough as to not make dangerous throws, an example being if the ball is on the left hash we like to put the bunch on the right hash.
Pop Option #1: “Got It, Take It”
Within the concept of the Pop play, the single receiver has a hitch route. The first read, no matter the run play called, is to see the corner cushion on the reciever to our single side. If we have cushion of seven or more yards and there is not an alley player in a prone position to play the ball, we will throw the hitch route. The quarterback takes a “catch, rock and throw” mentality with the football. The idea is to get the ball out in space to one of our better athletes and have him make a one on one play. The odds are in our favor that the play will result in at least 5 yards with the high percentage that it will result in more. We always would rather have a corner trying to make a tackle than any other defender on the field. If the cushion is within five or less yards, or the alley player is in a dangerous position pre snap, we will take a look to our next option.
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- How Coach Bendig is able to get a two on two blocking scheme with the ball in the hands of a better athlete in space.
- The fourth option that Coach Bendig will often use in this concept.
- The complementary concepts that Coach Bendig uses to not be so predictable in his bunch formation.
- Plus game film on all these concepts.
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The bunch series for us was something we relied heavy on with the group of skill players we were blessed to have. When we could put those guys in space and have them work with the ball, we took the opportunity. The Pop series opened up the running game and passing game for us when teams took away aspects of the formation. We made this formation and RPO concept a part of our initial installation and built around it as the year went on knowing that eventually we would have to make a counter move to the defense. The best part about the play and the concept is that it embodies all of what makes this game great, in the fact that all 11 guys have a role and they need to play it well to be successful.
Meet Coach Bendig: Coach Bendig is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Ashley Ridge High School in Summerville, SC. The 2015 season marks his first year at Ashley Ridge, where as he spent the previous 6 years at Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Coach Bendig has coached multiple position groups throughout his coaching career and is well versed in several offensive schemes, with added emphasis on the spread concepts. Coach Bendig is an alumnus of Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC and a letterman of the football program.
Key Statistics: Coach Bendig and the Ashley Ridge staff installed an offense that was statistically one of the best in school history. The team gained 4,117 yards of offense, averaged 6.3 yards per play and 33 points per game. The offense produced a 1,000 yard rusher and a 3,000 yard passer. Quarterback play was extremely efficient while completing 66% of our 360 passes thrown. The best part about the passing game was the ability to spread the ball around to multiple receivers and not have the defense key on any one player. Six players caught 25 or more balls for the offense and four players had over 470 yards receiving.