Football has seen its innovations over the years. however, there is currently an innovation taking place in football that may change the game forever. that innovation is the rpo.
rpo stands for pass-through option. this play is run on offense and involves the offensive lineman blocking a run while the receivers are running routes. the quarterback can pass the ball to the running back or pass it to wide receivers.
Reading: What are rpos in football
rpo is seen at all levels of football and can damage a defense if not covered properly. this article will show you how to run rpo and defend against them.
what is rpo in football?
rpo, also known as the run-pass option, was created to put the defense in conflict. the purpose of the rpo is to get the defense to decide whether to stop the run or cover the pass. often a player on defense is singled out, who will be attacked by the offense.
Running pass options were first seen in high school football. Coaches like Art Briles and Chad Morris began reading corners and linebackers, making shots of their decisions. The RPO then seeped into college football when Dana Holgorsen started running them in West Virginia.
Football managers will steal and innovate different concepts from each other. the simple concept of reading a player evolved into a whole system of getting the defense wrong.
how to read the rpo
it’s hard to defend against rpo. the concept of the run pass option is to make one of the players on defense make a mistake. this player is also known as the conflict player.
the player in conflict is a player on defense who is being read by the offense. if that player commits to the run, he will throw the pass. if the player remains in his passing zone, he will turn the ball over in the running game. regardless, the conflict player on defense will always be wrong. it’s up to the quarterback to make the right call.
above is the famous inside zone stick rpo concept. this concept is easier for the quarterback to read and is beneficial.
first, the offensive line is going to block the normal inside zone. this means that they will double the team if they have a player in their gap. if there is no player in the space, they will work up to the second level. this is where the offensive line must be cautious.
If the offensive lineman blocks more than 3 yards infield, the umpire may call the infraction with an illegal man out of bounds. that’s why the offense should make sure to delay 1/2 second before running to their second level block.
All three receivers will execute the stick concept while the offensive line blocks an inside zone. this means that the inner receiver will have problems. the second receiver will execute an output path and the external receiver will execute an attenuation path.
the quarterback will read the inside linebacker on this play. if the inside linebacker commits to the run, the quarterback will throw the hitch into the void.
If the linebacker covers the inside receiver again, the quarterback will hand the ball to the running back.
the quarterback will give up the ball because the linebacker won’t be able to fill his space and it will give the offense an advantage.
the best time to run an rpo
rpos can be run anytime, anytime. Teams started to get rid of their fast game and replaced it with rpos. the nice thing about running rpos is that they require defenses to change your game.
for example, if a team is a quarter coverage team, it will not cover the rpo of the suit because the conflict defender will always be wrong.
rpos are great for keeping defenses off balance. they can be executed in any area of the field and thrown 5 or 10 yards down the field. this all depends on how the offensive line delays their screen downfield.
there is a big difference between play-action, zone reading and rpo. we break down the differences here; that way, you’ll be able to identify them correctly.
how to stop the rpo
rpos can be very difficult to stop. not only is it frustrating to stop them if they go unchecked early in the game, but the offense will also thrive throughout the game.
To stop the rpo, the team must do two things:
- play man coverage
- trick & quarterback bait
cover of man playing against rpos
the best way to stop the rpo game is to play him with man coverage. teams that can play enough man coverage but mimic every move the wide receiver pretty much eliminates wide receiver routes.
the defense virtually eliminates any troublesome player from the quarterback’s reads when the defense is in man coverage. the threat of going from read to linebacker is now removed, as the defense has one player who matches all receivers.
the defense can now get their linebackers to focus strictly on the run and play fast which helps stop the rpo.
deceive or bait the quarterback in the rpo
The other method to stop the quarterback in the rpo is to bait or trick him.
Teams often do coverage, then move it to post or before capture. for example, if the team shows a two-quarter high look, they can roll down to a cover 1, a man look after the ball has been snapped.
Before the snap, the quarterback thinks he can throw the ball to the inside receiver. however, after the snap, that receiver will be covered. If the quarterback can’t process the information quickly after the ball has been thrown out (or reads the wrong player), he could make a mistake.
Teams like ohio state have been known to take advantage of qb running the rpo and steal interceptions by tricking the quarterback.
Below are more articles to help you learn more about rpo.
understanding the rpo
rpo games from extended offense
difference between game action, rpo & reading option
how oklahoma football uses split back & rpo
rpo stands for run pass option and is a way for the offense to take advantage of the defense. defensive players are conflicted about committing to the run or the pass.
If they choose poorly, the offense will often choose good. rpos give the offense flexibility to run or throw the ball if there is enough leverage out/in.
coaches have continued to innovate through rpos and keep defenses guessing, forcing them to improvise every play.
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