We’ve broken down facets of A&M’s pro-option offense countless times, and we’ll continue with a breakdown today. Today we’re looking at Q Counter RPO, a run-pass option play that forces the defense to stop the interior run game and cover the edges against the passing game.
Q Counter RPO Play Concept
Q Counter RPO is a basic run-pass option concept. The play is run from 10 personnel with twin receivers on both sides of the field. QB is aligned in shotgun with the RB to his left.
At the snap, the boundary slot and receiver go vertical and stalk block. The field slot runs a bubble towards the numbers. Field receiver blocks down on the apex defender to seal him inside. Apex defender is the read man for the play. LT fan blocks the strongside edge. Center blocks the strong 2-tech. RG goes second level to block BSLB. RT zones inside to block weak 4-tech. LG pulls playside and kicks out weak edge. RB flows in front of QB and pins PSLB inside.
QB reads apex defender/nickelback. If he floats outside to cover the bubble screen, QB keeps the ball and runs counter. If apex stays flat or plays inside to stop the run, QB throws bubble screen. Defense has a 3-on-2 advantage in the secondary for the screen, so the play is designed to gain 5 yards against an off alignment.
Executing Q Counter RPO
Haynes King is in shotgun with Devon Achane to his left. Chris Marshall is the field receiver and Yulkeith Brown is the slot. At the snap, Marshall comes down to block the apex defender and Brown runs a smoke route. LT Trey Zuhn zones down to cover for LG Aki Ogunbiyi pulling weakside, then fans to seal out the strong edge. Center Matthew Wykoff seals out the 2-tech. RG Layden Robinson goes second level for the MLB. RT Reuben Fatheree blocks down on the 4-tech who slants inside. Ogunbiyi kicks out the weakside edge. Achane comes inside Ogunbiyi and blocks the SLB.
Apex defender Trey Cobb stays flat so King makes the bubble read. King airmails the ball over the leaping arms of Yulkeith Brown for an incomplete pass.
Q Counter Keep
A&M runs the exact same play from the same alignment on the next snap.
This time Cobb immediately flows to stop the screen so King makes the keep read to run counter. Ogunbiyi pulls weakside and kicks out weak edge Nick Hampton. Achane comes across and hits LB Logan Doublin with his outside shoulder instead of head on. Achane goes down to one knee, losing leverage, and Doublin easily plays off this poor attempt at a block to tackle Ling for a four yard loss.
End Zone View
End zone view of the play, you can see King read the apex defender, make his keep read, and then Achane’s poor technique.
People criticized A&M’s offensive playcalling after the game, but the poor fundamentals, inability to finish blocks and execute the scheme are bigger culprits. A&M had the right play called for this defensive alignment and down/distance, this was just poor execution.
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