Thursday Grab Bag: RPOs, JUCOs, and More

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Justin Fuente and Brad Cornelsen try to time their RPO calls perfectly. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

While I’m working up a two-parter on the Bearcats (and digging out of the High Country snow), I thought I’d touch on some hot message board topics from this week, answer some missed questions, and also offer some insight into the minds of two rival coaches.

RPOs and the Offense

I’ve seen the Tech’s offense called an “RPO offense,” but I wouldn’t use that term. I’ve watched what I’d call RPO offenses where every snap on the drive could be an RPO of some sort. Hugh Freeze’s teams would fall into that category, and I’m guessing his new crew at Liberty will, too. The Hokies, though, even when the RPOs are clicking, only call a few a game. As far as broad generalizations go, “spread-option offense” is probably the best term you’ll find.

I think part of the problem is that announcers are overstating RPOs by calling a great deal of attention to them (which I can’t blame, because it’s a trendy play) when they happen, and also by confusing them with packaged plays and play-action passes (as happened in the Marshall game.)

Why doesn’t Tech lean on this trendy play? Probably because you don’t get the same bonuses from the RPO game as the option run game. With RPOs, the best a play does is remove a linebacker or bracketing safety from coverage, which isn’t the same as taking a DE or DT out of the run game. RPOs work best against certain