Designing RPO Systems: Case 4 – RPO Route Designation to Combat Man Coverage

Jun 8, 2016 | Offense, Post-Snap Manipulations, RPO's

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
Special Reporting by Adam Hovorka and James Woods
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar



case4leadpicThe talk around the clinic circuit this off-season was that man coverage provides a viable answer in defending these RPO schemes. We have the research to back it up. We found that 46 percent of defensive coordinators either use pure man coverage or a version of split field coverage (which essentially turns to man post snap) to defend run/pass option concepts. So this case serves as the pure counterpoint to the topic, how offensive coaches are attacking man coverage in their RPO game.

We’ve segmented our research into the following perspectives of opinion:

  • Coaches who rely on quick game methodologies
  • Coaches who use stacked and compressed formations.
  • Coaches who rely more on the run game component of RPOs

Quick Game Methodologies

Lynn Shackelford at Cashion High School (OK) started to see an abundance of man coverage later on in the season due to the success rate of his RPO game. When he was presented with man coverage, he relied on quick game routes such as slants, arrows, posts, outs, seams and fades. He would use a built-in man beater to attack the side of man coverage. “For example, if we called a man side and a zone side, the quarterback would pre-snap to see coverage and what side he is working,” said Coach Shackelford. “If he likes the man leverage, he catches and throws the man side. If he doesn’t, he hands the zone run play.” Coach Shackelford will often have a slant/seam built into the man side as a man beater, which is paired with his zone run game. The quarterback is double reading here post snap from the inside linebacker to the strong safety. “If backer run fits, he reads the strong safety. If strong safety is peddling, he is throwing the slant.”

Zone Slant RPO: Cashion High School (OK) (Diagram 76)


To study game cutups on this concept, click on the video below: