RPO under fire

Joined: October 3rd, 2013, 4:59 pm

September 11th, 2018, 12:19 pm #1

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald kind of loss his mind today when asked about RPO. He actually compared it to the “purest form of communism.” I am not sure how that relates but he does go on and make some good points:

“I don’t understand how offensive linemen can be downfield. It used to be when (an offensive lineman) tripped and fell down, it was illegal man downfield. Now if it’s just an uncovered lineman and you go 2.3 yards downfield, it’s not a penalty. But if you go three yards it is and nobody can see it until after the ball is thrown” Fitzgerald said.

In college football, no ineligible receivers “shall be more than three yards beyond the neutral zone until a passer throws a legal forward pass that crosses the neutral zone,” per NCAA rules. “A player is in violation of this rule if any part of his body is beyond the three-yard limit.”

Fitzgerald seems to believe that rule is violated on RPO plays, where the quarterback quickly surveys the defense before deciding whether to hand the ball off to the running back, run it himself or throw it downfield. Often, the offensive linemen will not know what the quarterback is going to do with the ball before it is snapped, so the QB has to make a choice quickly.
Being a Vol fan is great except for a few Saturdays in the fall.
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Joined: October 3rd, 2013, 4:59 pm

September 11th, 2018, 12:22 pm #2

I have noticed linemen are more than 3 yards downfield a lot lately. I know linebackers are trained to treat the play as a run once a lineman goes 3 yards so it does seem like a cheat especially since the refs are not calling it.
Being a Vol fan is great except for a few Saturdays in the fall.
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Joined: September 4th, 2012, 1:50 pm

September 11th, 2018, 12:29 pm #3

RPO is  the hottest trend in offense's today...… but as defense's become more adept at defending the rpo, the offense's will move on to other things …. 
Alabama: Heart of the South
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Joined: December 28th, 2012, 3:23 pm

September 12th, 2018, 11:13 am #4

There isn't a problem with running RPO's, rather than the enforcement of Lineman downfield beyond 3 yards.  Ole Miss under Freeze would push these limits which caused Saban to get his feathers ruffled more than once over the issue.  SEC officials have cracked down on it somewhat but teams still get away with lineman downfield way too much. 

Run Pass Options are here to stay but the will have to evolve.  Brett Farve did his version of RPO back in the 90's, if his WR was left uncovered on any running play he would just get the ball too him quickly before anyone had time to get out of the zone.  The first time he did it, he didn't even tell his coach only the one WR.    They both would read the coverage without any signals, I believe Donald Driver was the WR.  

Basically, almost every running play from that day forward became an RPO for Brett.  It also helped their run game to keep those DB's out there.
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