How 15 RPO Coaches Address Man Coverage

Mar 13, 2016 | Offense, Post-Snap Manipulations, RPO's

By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
X&O Labs
Twitter: @MikekKuchar


The following is an excerpt from X&O Labs’ bestselling special report, The RPO Study. Continue reading for details on the #1 resource for run/pass option.

Answers to Man Coverage:

In the subsequent cases we devote a great of time on several run/pass option concept that can be integrated into your program immediately. We explain the concept, detail the route progressions, describe the quarterback post-snap read methodology and explain how formations can manipulate the reads. But before we do that, we wanted to address what can be the kryptonite of RPOs, man free coverage. Because chances are, if you are going to implement these RPO concepts in your offense, you will see some form of man coverage for two simple reasons:

  1. There are no apexed (run/pass) defenders; instead there are cover down defenders. There are players who are playing the perimeter and players who are box defenders. No in-betweens that can be influenced by a post-snap read.

  2. There are no eyes on the quarterback, for him to manipulate. Responsibilities are already pre-determined pre-snap. 

 So, what answers do RPO coaches have when seeing some form of man-free coverage? We went right to the source and asked them the question.

Question: What is your answer to man free coverage and cover down alignments?  Will you still use all phases of the Dual Read or will you most likely have a built-in answer?

Reader Responses:

Lee Sadler, Marshall High School (AR): “If we are seeing man free or any type of man coverage (which is usually the first answer teams will try to use to combat our RPO), we will start to use motion and shifts to try and move the eyes of the defender. In the past, we have also had success with switching our pop receiver. For example, out of a 3x1 set, using the #2 receiver as the pop runner instead of the #3 receiver. Small changes like that, or using motion and shifts, causes issues with the defense.”