By Javier Cardenas
Eagle Pass High School (TX)
RPOs are evolving into a staple for spread offenses for various solid reasons. They give an offense the ability to get playmakers involved in a variety of simple yet creative ways. Defenses must consider additional time to develop and prepare personnel for RPOs, particularly linebackers. Defenses, in many ways, are forced to play assignment football against RPOs, especially at the 1st and 2nd level. We saw many defensive adjustments to our RPOs this past season: Cover 2 (man under), Cover 3, moving/spot coverages to remove the stationary read, straight man coverage and 4-1 box adjustments. The advantage of our style RPO is that it had answers for these and other coverages.
Our offensive identity is simple: Physical, Fast, Execute (PFE). Rather than saturating an offensive playbook, RPO's allow us to mix our base concepts from week-to-week through personnel groupings, formations, motions, and tempos. We do not want our kids over analyzing situations; we want them to be PFE. RPOs comprise about 40% of our offense and revolve around four base formations: 2x2, 3x1, 2X1 (20 personnel) and Empty with 3x1 being most effective. Again, we do a great job window dressing RPOs from week-to-week, but the base concept never changes.
While we are not a true Screen Pass Option (SPO) unit, our screen game mimics the SPO (Screen/Pass Option) system. We embed our best menu run game into our screen game. Our screen game is a unique call based on how a defense aligns. As the defense begins to overcompensate to the run/RPO, we tag the screen. We have a variety of ways of doing this. Essentially, we take away the decision-making ability from our QB and tell him when to throw the screen. However, the run RPO element stays intact and the defense must continue to defend. This simplified our QB's thought process while allowing our offensive line and receivers to play "PFE." Hesitation and indecisiveness is a QB's kryptonite! The base Menu Run/RPO discussed and demonstrated on film in this report will be the following:
- RB Flare concept
- Inside zone paired with RPO progressions from Bubble, Bubble Slant, Bubble with motion, and Stick
These base concepts then set up our screen game.
RB Flare Screen Progression- If Mike linebacker, corner and safety adjust- throw screen
IZ Bubble/RPO Screen Progression- If the defense over adjusts/soft corner- throw screen
IZ Bubble Slant Screen Progression- Defense over adjust to bubble slant- throw screen
IZ Bubble RPO with cross motion Screen Progression- Defense over adjusts to motion- throw screen
IZ Stick RPO Screen Progression- Defense over adjusts to run/ stick- throw screen
Creating Concepts based on Functionality