5 Tips for Defending RPOs | Quick Clinic 228

How to Shut Down Run-Pass Option Plays

When they hit the football coaching scene a few years ago, defensive coordinators were scratching their heads defending RPOs. But while it’s a great tool for offenses to attack, run pass options are not as mystical as they may seem.

If you’ve got a good RPO team on your schedule this season, you don’t need to panic and change your whole defense. Follow the 5 tips for defending RPO’s in this podcast to shut ’em down.

Keys to Defending RPOs

The tips you’ll learn for defending RPOs start with busting a few myths and misconceptions. Once we get through that, the plays get easier to figure out.

Run-Pass Options are not a strange new phenomena never before seen in the game of football. They are an extension of old school option football. The ‘pass’ phase of the RPO is usually just a new style of pitch.

RPOs are trying to put one of your defenders in conflict, just like the option. And just like the option, if the defense plays good assignment football and makes tackles, they can win the battle.

The second myth to keep in mind is how you defend RPOs. The old way of thinking was that the only way to truly stop the plays was to run man coverage. That just isn’t true. You can defend RPOs using zone coverage!

Defensive Adjustments for RPOs

The rest of your keys to defending run-pass options get down to preparing your defense. And it starts by using the ASKA and levers principles.

The easiest adjustment for RPOs is to use your alignment to take away the best plays. You may need to slide the Linebackers, especially versus 3×1 formations, to take away quick passes.

Then you need to get the safeties involved. Whether you’re running 1-high safety or 2-high safeties, get those guys in position to drive on the Quarterback’s release and make tackles to limit any yardage after the catch.

It’ll be obvious when you listen to this episode that defending RPOs comes down to your safeties and/or outside linebackers. How you teach their reads and how they react to the reads might be the biggest key. The final tip is teaching the ‘Don’t Go Till You Know” principle.

Listen to this episode to learn more about the 5 Tips for Defending RPOs!

Defending RPOs Show Notes

  • Treating RPOs as another type of option play
  • Coverages for defending run-pass options
  • How to adjust your alignment to defend the pass
  • Getting the safeties involved to prevent big plays
  • Coaching the Don’t Go Till You Know principle for safeties

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Where to Go From Here…

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