Texas Tech is entering this season with more offensive questions than ever in the Kingsbury era. Almost every position is a question mark, that is except for the offensive line.
The O-line is a veteran group, with all five starters returning, but in an air-raid attack, how do you utilize this strength? The answer is the run-pass option.
For those who are unaware, the RPO is similar to a read option play. The quarterback will execute a read and will either keep or hand off the ball. The offensive line sell the fake executing their run blocks.
However, unlike the traditional read option, the RPO gives the quarterback the option to throw the ball based on what he sees. Only the quarterback will know what the play will actually look like based on his reads.
This play is the most hated play for defenses. In college, offensive lineman are allowed to move three yards down field.
This means a defense has a really hard time seeing the pass coming. Mainly this is due to an inability to enforce the rules.
Despite all the emphasis given to the rule officials continue to miss the big boys lumbering over five yards down field. This forces a defense to respect the run because if they try to guess pass, the running back will blow past them.
The hesitation this fake causes usually gives a receiver a chance to shake his defender allowing an easy short to mid-range completion. Just like a traditional read option, a good RPO will also almost always lead to a running back or quarterback chewing up yards on the ground.
The line is smart enough to stay disciplined while executing their run fits. And with our spread sets backing defenders off the ball, safeties and corners are forced to commit quickly to the run or pass. All of this spells disaster for opposing defenses.
The last two years, the running game has been a huge stain on Tech’s offense. However, this year with an experienced offensive line, this play is the perfect way to establish the run game without abandoning our identity.
This will be especially true if a more dangerous dual-threat QB like Jett Duffey is the starter. The read-option component will create running lanes, while the pass component will allow us to bail out plays where a defense just has the run sniffed out.
With our offensive sets, even facing the now popular three man front we will struggle to run north/south. Utilizing a well documented glitch in modern defenses, we can force teams to respect our ground game and move away from the bubble screen.
Auburn is well known for this style of offense, and Baylor under Briles torched Big 12 defenses utilizing it. Why not stretch the rules a bit and make a defensive coordinator tear his hair out?
What do you all think? Could the RPO be the answer for the Red Raider’s run game?