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By Brent Dearmon, Head Football Coach, Bethel University (TN)

Last season at Arkansas Tech University, offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon called an RPO on 35% of snaps. And while the Wonder Boys averaged 225 yards rushing and 210 yards passing per game, the most telling stat is that none of these 313 plays resulted in a sack or an interception. Being in 21 personnel enabled his unit to be gap sound and protect the QB. In his clinic report, Coach Dearmon details a variety of these 21 personnel RPO’s and how he protects his QB. Read the report...


By Brent Dearmon
Head Football Coach
Bethel University (TN)
Twitter: @BrentDearmon



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In 2017, we called 313 RPOs out of 885 plays. That means that 35% of our offense was RPOs. The results were overwhelmingly positive on those plays, but perhaps the best stat is that we had zero sacks and zero interceptions on RPO plays. The main reason we were able to do that was because we found ways to be gap sound and protect our QB.

As the season went on, we found ourselves in 21 personnel more than we had anticipated to help create an extra gap to protect our QB. In this report, we will show a few of those plays, but more than that we will explain the protection and the read for the QB.

Coaching QBs

Before we get into plays, I want everyone to understand how we teach our QBs. This chart is discussed in depth with every RPO we install. Our QBs understand which gaps they are protected, in which gaps they are reading, and in which gaps the protection is weak. (Diagram 1)


Zone Flat

In this concept the QB will learn the following:

  1. The OL and HBs will protect him from front side D gap to back side C gap.
  2. His pre-snap “quick game” throw will always be opposite the side. He will turn his eyes to this during the RB mesh. If the pre-snap “gift” flat route is there, we want him to throw it now.
  3. If the pre-snap throw is not there, he will then ride read the boundary D gap player. If the D gap player attaches hard to the run fit, he will then pull and throw the boundary flat route.

Continue to the full-length version of this report…

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  • The Split Zone Glance RPO Coach Dearmon utilizes from 21 personnel groupings.
  • The Field Zone Read Bubble RPO Coach Dearmon utilizes from 21 personnel groupings.
  • The Split Zone Insert with Snag RPO Coach Dearmon utilizes from 21 personnel groupings.
  • The Power Spot RPO Coach Dearmon utilizes from 21 personnel groupings.
  • Plus game film on all these concepts.

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These concepts have been effective in keeping our QB clean and keeping him in the right read. As you can see, the system that we use to teach these reads is as important as the concepts themselves. With this system in place, we can adjust and add concepts without throwing the QB off.

Meet Coach Dearmon: Brent Dearmon just finished his 3rd year as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas Tech, after spending the last two seasons on the staff of Gus Malzahn at Auburn University. He recently accepted the Head Coach at his Alma Mater Bethel University.

In 2017, ATU averaged 40 points per game and was 14% effective on 3rd downs. They also were 7th in the country in turnovers and had a 90% success rate in the Red Zone. All of this was done while maintaining a balanced offense that averaged 225 yards rushing and 210 yards passing per game.

In his first year at Arkansas Tech, the Wonder Boys produced the biggest offensive turnaround in college football - including a 360% increase in rushing yards from the previous season. Tech's offense was the second-rated offense in the GAC, racking up 36.5 points and 458.8 yards per game. Along the way, Chris Eastburn and Bryan Allen earned all-region accolades. 

During his time at Auburn, Dearmon spent the 2013 season as a Running Back Analyst and the 2014 season as a Wide Receiver Analyst. His duties included film breakdown and game preparation, providing academic support to the running backs and wideouts, as well as assisting with the recruiting process and camp operations. While Dearmon was at Auburn, the Tigers posted a combined 20-7 record, including an 11-5 mark in SEC play. The 2013 Tigers captured the SEC title en route to an appearance in the BCS Championship Game.

Dearmon brought extensive experience in the high school ranks to Auburn, as he spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Vigor High School in Prichard, Alabama before taking the reins of the program at B.C. Rain High School for two seasons. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Bethel University, in 2007, where he served as a student assistant, coaching the defensive backs as the team posted an 11-2 record.



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