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Jul 04

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The RPO Offense

I’m currently a student assistant at Tyler Junior College located in East Texas. I started out coaching football at age 17 after my senior year of football was completed. My first student assistant job was at Stratford High School under Coach Eliot Allen. I then got the opportunity to be an offensive assistant for a semi professional team which leads me up to today.

I like to consider myself as an offense first coach. My philosophy when it comes to offense is simple: spread the defense out wide and make them cover vertically. In my studies, I’ve taken away that when an offense is explosive and they can attack the natural holes that the spread offense presents, it can be very effective. One bonus the spread offense can bring is the ability to run the football. When we watch teams like Michigan, LSU, Florida State, and Arkansas we become used to a more traditional downhill running scheme. With the spread offensive it allows an offense to attack two different ways – that’s downhill, and outside.

In today’s world of football the spread offense has really evolved and changed the landscape of football. In today’s modern spread we’ve become immune to option football. The option has become more of a standard call in football, and it’s become more involved with the evolution of the read option and even down to the traditional triple option. The read option is a standard play that allows the quarterback to essentially block the backside end man by reading him. This could be a threat! The spread offense usually brings more athletic ability with it which forces the defense to honor all assignments.

In option football it’s nothing more than assignment football. From the read option to the triple option, the triple option is one form of offense that gives the spread its dangerous identity. Coaches have really ramped up the triple option within the past five years and it’s turned into what we know as an RPO, or “run pass option.” This is deadly for all defensive coordinators throughout the football ranks. I simply call it the “pick your poison” offense. Many teams that run the RPO, which is nothing more than the triple offense from a spread set, allow an offense multiple options within one play.

This is a pretty basic concept that can be installed in any offense. In order to implement this offense all you have to do is confirm your base run play, whether that be inside zone, power, outside zone, or something else. Based off your base run play you can tag some sort of key screen or bubble to it, which will give your quarterback another option. This offense can really hit home but it takes exceptional execution.

About the author

Coach Kristian Johnson Assistant Coach Tyler Junior College

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