RPO- 2nd Level Reads
Written by: Coach Kristian Johnson
Now that we’ve broken into the topic of the RPO offense I hope that you get an initial grasp for the concept. However, there’s more than one level within the RPO offense. The next topic covers the Power run game with down field passes tagged to it. Let’s get to it!
In my first article I broke down the simplicity of the RPO offense which would consist of the Quarterback having his traditional triple option read; the dive key and then the pitch key, where the pitch read would be tagged with some sort of key screen or bubble screen. Many exposed football coaches know that to be a first level read.
Much like your first level Run, Pass, Option the Quarterback will still look for his conflict defender which in many cases will be an overhang outside linebacker or in some occasions he’ll read the inside linebacker. The key to successfully executing this playcall is to create a route combination that will directly put your read key in a conflict.
Many teams all across college football will have this in their arsenal at some point in the season. Often times it’ll look like a traditional play action between the Quarterback and Running Back, but instead it’s a read. The offense lines up with a run play call like in the diagram above, the offensive line will block for a zone run play. Yes! It is a original run but the conflict all lies on the inside linebacker, he still has his run responsibility even though there’s someone running a route right in his drop zone to put him in conflict. This is where the RPO comes to play. The quarterback will direct his eyes to the conflict defender and react off his movement.
Reading the second level is the next step in RPOs. Many teams often run Power to give off the illusion that it’s a designed run call by pulling a Guard. Many of times the linebackers see pull action he’s more than likely to bite to the box which opens up quick game routes like hitches, sit, and even the deep vertical route.