Youngstown State’s Slide RPO Perimeter Blocking Rules

May 15, 2024 | Offense, Post-Snap Manipulations, RPO's

By Mike Kuchar with Troy Rothenbuhler
Offensive Coordinator/QB’s
Youngstown State University (OH)
Twitter: @Coach_Troy_R



The Slide RPO became a fixture in Youngstown State’s offensive menu this season and helped the Penguins produce a program-record 243 yards through the air. The tight end was the benefactor of most of these slides where 30 of his 42 catches came as a result of this concept. For Offensive Coordinator Troy Rothenbuhler, the Slide became a modern descendant of the traditional bubble concept. “It comes down to the same thing,” he said. “You have numbers, angles, and leverage.”

But the challenge for defenses is having to recognize the Slide much more quickly than bubbles. The slide comes from across the formation off run action- preferably inside zone for the Penguins- causing second-level defenders to get lost in the mesh and out-flanked on the slide. “We liked it better off tight zone (than wide zone) because now you’re going to get those guys playing into the core downhill,” said Coach Rothenbuhler. “With wide zone, they can plant and react better.”

While much of the mesh game in Slide will be produced from offset alignments, Coach Rothenbuhler does work some Pistol in as well. “We get off the midline for the back and get him downhill to look frontside A gap to backside,” he said.


QB Pre-Snap Thought Process:

Since the Slide concept is mainly built for the two receiver side, much of the discussion revolves around which defender can potentially take the slide. And most of the time that defender is the inside linebacker. The quarterback is still taught to read the backside C gap defender off the zone run action, but he needs to be able to identify the inside linebacker’s leverage. Essentially, if the quarterback identifies that the Will is out-leveraged pre-snap, he can expect to throw the Slide. It starts with his alignment. Is he tucked in too far? Or does he have leverage on the Slide?

“We get a feel for what the backside end is doing and what the backside alley looks like,” said Coach Rothenbuhler. “The quarterback reads to find out how much leverage he has on the box linebacker. If the Will or Mike has leverage, he can take the throw even if the end doesn’t squeeze. “If he doesn’t have as much leverage then the quarterback needs to read it true as triple the end to the linebacker.”