What if RPOs could go to a whole new level? Wait to you see what Coach Rosati has added to the mix. Read the report...
By Matt Rosati
Head Football Coach
Perry High School (OH)
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In the game of football, every revolutionary concept that has success leads to extremely creative coaches researching and scheming ways to beat it. In the past five years, RPOs have impacted the game at all levels. As so many great defensive minds have found ways to disrupt many RPO concepts, the RPO world is evolving and taking another step forward.
Like many RPO centric offenses, our program at Perry High School has been able to take our best run plays and package them with our most efficient pass concepts. In 2015, we established ten RPO concepts into our offense and our scoring average went from 29 points per game (PPG) in 2014 to 40 PPG in 2015. We continued to implement more RPO concepts and our average increased to 41 PPG in 2016 and 48 PPG in 2017 through the use of 32 one-word RPO concepts in a no-huddle format. To take this to the next level, we have taken some of our base RPO concepts and have implemented a variety of trick plays into the system.
Ninety percent of our offensive schemes incorporate RPOs. We only have two passing concepts that do not have a run option (vertical route and mesh route concepts). We have found that one of the best ways that teams are defending our normal RPOs is not necessarily related to great defensive schemes but more so by using the rules of the game against us. Many teams discuss the rules with the officials prior to the game to induce more illegal man downfield infractions. On most Friday nights, I witness opposing coaches bend the ear of the officials about our linemen being downfield on every pass play.
While the opposing coaches were often right, the flag was very seldom dropped. That said, I am seeing that trend change. We have utilized an RPO system for three seasons and our number of penalties for illegal man downfield have jumped from three (out of 606 plays) in 2015, seven (out of 781 plays) in 2016, and thirteen (out of 716 plays) in 2017. In three years, twenty-three illegal man downfield calls have been issued out of a total of 2105 plays. Painfully, of the twenty-three penalties, eight resulted in a touchdown being called back.
Let me be clear. There is no argument. We were guilty all twenty-three times. The fact of the matter is that even though we were hardly penalized for it, the officials were looking to make the call now more than ever before. With that in mind, we had to make a decision. Our options are:
- Hope the officials don’t call it
- Stop running RPOs
- Do a better job of coaching and adjust to what was stopping us at an annoyingly high rate?
We choose to go with the third option and examined how our guys were getting too far down field and made some necessary adjustments. The self-analysis led us to a new concept in the RPO scheme that will keep us a step ahead of the defensive adjustments.
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- How Coach Rosati implements a number system into the play call to identify which conflict defender the QB is reading.
- How Coach Rosati builds a number system into the play call to identify the specific play concept his offense is running.
- An example of a six-option play progression built into a one-word play call.
- The pre-snap and post-snap read progression checklist Coach Rosati works through with his quarterback to get them in the perfect play call.
- Plus narrated and raw game film of these concepts.
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By adding the trick play element to RPO concepts, our offense has a weapon that will allow us to stay ahead of defenses that think they have developed sound principles of defending most RPO teams. Having multiple skilled positions that have the ability to throw the ball can open creative opportunities for RPO teams by using the deep threat to eliminate the defenders who would otherwise be pressuring the run game or supporting the bubble.
Meet Coach Rosati: Matt Rosati has been a HFC for 22 years in northeast Ohio. The past 11 years, he has served at Perry High School. Prior to that, he served as the head coach at West Geauga High School for 11 years. While at Perry, his teams have reached the state playoffs 7 times in 11 years. The Perry Pirates currently have a 21-game regular season win streak and a record of 34–4 over the last 3 seasons. Perry reached the state semi-finals in 2016 and the regional championship in 2017 before losing to the state champion. In addition to coaching, Rosati teaches social studies and is married with three children.