As we’ve seen so far this season, the Oregon Ducks offense under Coach Will Stein is a continuation of last season’s attack. The one difference is that Coach Stein uses RPOs to a greater degree. With that in mind, there is a specific RPO that I believe would make the offense even more lethal than it already is. So instead of looking at a play the Ducks have run recently, we’re going to dive into one that could be coming; the Y-Pop RPO.
Because the Oregon Ducks have been so successful on the ground, at 227 yards per game, opposing linebackers are triggering quickly when they see the handoff. The Washington Huskies were incredibly aggressive on run plays against the Ducks a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like it could become more of a trend.
The Y-Pop can be attached to a number of run scheme, but we’ll just focus on it packaged with Inside Zone. In this case, the offensive line is going to block IZ, leaving the backside edge defender unblocked. If an offensive lineman is covered, he will block that defender. If an OL is left uncovered, he will work playside to help on a double team or move up to the second level of the defense.
Before the snap, the quarterback will count defenders over the bubble screen. If they have a numbers advantage, he can just fire the ball out to the perimeter.
If there’s no numbers advantage for the bubble, the QB will read the backside edge defender at the snap. If the edge stays wide to play the QB run, the QB will hand the ball off to the running back. If the edge crashes down on the RB, the QB will pull the ball.
If the read calls for the QB to pull the ball, his eye will move to the outside linebacker. If the LB stays high or goes with the tight end on the seam route, the QB will run the ball, but if the LB crashes down, there’s a good chance the TE will be wide open.
In the clip above, Oregon is in an unbalanced set, and the QB gets the pull read, followed by the read to throw the pop. The TE is wide-open for an easy touchdown. This is a play that Coach Joe Moorhead brought with him when he came in as Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2020.
In the clip above, the QB gets all of the same reads out of a balanced set, and the TE is again wide-open for a touchdown. The Y-Pop RPO, or something similar, is probably in Coach Stein’s playbook, and with the way opponents are trying to defend the rushing attack, it could be something we see soon.
Coach Eric Boles
Top Photo Credit: Truong Nguyen
Phil Anderson, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.
Eric resides in Central Ohio, just outside the capital city of Columbus. He is a former offensive assistant and return game coordinator for the Ohio State – Newark/Central Ohio Technical College Titans football program.
He is an OSU-N graduate, having completed a Bachelor of Arts program in psychology.
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