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By Joe Spagnolo, Head Coach, Iona Prep (NY)

In the last few years, Coach Spagnolo's offense has evolved into a Zone RPO and Power Read football team that plays up- tempo, with various formations and motions. They have found that the best way to protect our two base run plays has been through Pull Scheme RPOs with Universal Tags. Read about it here...


By Joe Spagnolo
Head Coach
Iona Prep (NY)
Twitter: @JoeSpags12


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In the last few years we have evolved into a Zone RPO and Power Read football team that plays up- tempo, with various formations and motions. We have found that the best way to protect our two base run plays has been through Pull Scheme RPOs with Universal Tags. The key to these plays are that they work verse all fronts and coverages, which allows us to always call plays that work, while pushing the tempo at the same time. For the purpose of this article we will focus on our three primary Pull Scheme RPOs and our main universal tag.  

G-Lead (Read)

The G-Lead scheme was very easy for us to adopt for our oline and skill players as it is a combination of zone and power principals for our offensive line and the same run game mesh as our zone read play for the QBs and RBs. The G-Lead scheme is a great answer when we are having match-up problems with a NG because it provides us with better leverage or an aggressive double team at the point of attack. The skip pull for the bsg is identical to the skip pull in our power scheme and the RBs aiming point (front leg of the center) and movement keys (Tightest technique) are consistent with our zone read scheme. In addition, it creates a false pull that slows down backside LBs and pursuit if we get a pull read triggered by the backside de.

Dart (Read)

The Dart scheme was also very easy for us to adopt as it is basically the same rules as G-Lead except the BSG and BST change responsibilities. The mesh for the QBs and RBs are also the same and the read for the QB remains consistent as well (Backside De). We have found that the Dart scheme helps manufacture more pull reads as the tackle pulling tends to influence the read more than the G pulling. In addition, it gets our bigger lineman at the point of attack. We prefer to run the Dart scheme over the G-Lead scheme in two scenarios. 1. When we think LBs and DBs are reading our tackles for run/pass reads and 2. When teams crash and slant off our pulling Guards (We see that a lot because of our power read game). The Dart play gives you the extra blocker (BSG) folding back to cut off hard slanting DTs/Des. We prefer to run G-Lead over Dart when Backside ILBs are aggressively over pursuing our power read game (reading our guard's) and when we are seeing frontside run blitzes by the PSILBs as the pulling guard will get in the gap faster than the pulling tackle.

GT (Read)

The GT scheme is a combination of our basic counter scheme and the dart scheme for the BST, so this scheme is also low-maintenance and easy to teach. The mesh point for this scheme is slightly wider than our zone scheme mesh (heel to toe with the QB and over the tackle) but it is identical to our power read and buck sweep splits, which helps us eliminate any tendencies based on our RB’s splits. The GT scheme was our most frequently used gap scheme RPO as it generated the most pull reads for the QBs and served as a boot-leg concept for us on short yardage and goal line situations. We preferred the GT scheme when we faced crashing des as the play often created a pull read for the QB or a natural bounce for the RB due to the stalemate block of the De by the pulling guard.

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The ability to call Pull Scheme RPOs with Universal Tags has allowed us to play even faster and create false pull reads to complement our traditional gap scheme and power read plays. In addition, our RPO based offense has simplified our weekly game-planning and allowed us to focus more on situational football as our adjustments consist strictly of how we want to handle the box and what tags to attach/attack specific coverages. In closing, adding the Pull Scheme RPOs have complimented are base run schemes and have added so much to our overall scheme with little to no extra install or coaching time needed.

Meet Coach Spagnolo: Coach Spagnolo is currently the head coach at Iona Prep (NY). Prior to that he served as the Offensive Coordinator at Archbishop Stepinac for 10-years. During his tenure at Stepinac, the Crusaders have won 4 League Championships in 6 appearances including finishing #2 and #1 respectively in New York State in 2014 and 2015. The Crusaders lead the New York Catholic School League in total yards and points (Over 400 yards/40.0 pts per game) both of those years.



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