The limit of a coach’s two man route combinations is almost endless. From fade-out, to slant-arrow, or even hitch- seam, almost any two man quick game concept can be attached to the backside of a run play. Because of the vast amount of concepts out there, we are going to spend this article discussing a few of my favorites and diving into the reads and QB mechanics required to effectively execute RPO quick game concepts.
The Hitch-Seam concept is one that is used from Pop Warner to the pros. Incorporating this simple passing concept into your RPO package can open up ways to get the ball to your most explosive players in space.
If the cornerbacks are playing off on the outside, the hitch is an easy throw for any quarterback to make. This is the pre-snap read. I have drawn up inside zone for the example, but hitches can be attached to any inside run scheme as a way to stretch the defense from sideline to sideline. The read is simple: if the outside receiver has a cushion, catch the snap and fire the ball to the hitch.
For the post-snap read, the quarterback is going to read the defender covering the slot receiver away from the run play. Note the path of vision for the quarterback. When he flips his hips on the snap to mesh with the running back, his eyes should be on the slot defender. If the defender stays with the slot, it’s a handoff. If the slot defender comes up to play the run, the quarterback fires the ball right into the area the defender vacated.
The Snap concept is one that our staff got from Tony Franklin at his System clinic back in 2013. It’s a concept I love to use on the backside of any run play. When we first learned this concept, Franklin was using it at Cal as a five yard speed out to the outside receiver. Over the past couple years, we’ve combined the quick out with a stick route by the inside receiver to create a very effective pre/post snap combination.
This can be attached to the backside of any inside our outside run concept. Against a soft cornerback, the QB is going to catch and throw the quick out on the snap.
Post-snap, his eyes are going to flip to the overhang player to the backside of the play. If the overhang stays back on the stick, the QB is going to complete his mesh with the running back and give the ball. If the overhang comes up to play the run, the QB is going to pull out of the mesh and put the ball on the outside shoulder of the receiver who sits in the space the overhang player has vacated.
The fade/out combination is another basic route combination that every coach has used from Pop Warner to the pros.
Personally, I like to attach this concept to the backside of two back run game concepts. Same side power is a very effective run play to tag with the fade/out concept because it really puts the overhang play in conflict.
If the overhang plays the out, it gives a run lane for your running back. If he comes up to play the run, it’s an easy pitch and catch for the QB. This is one of PJ Fleck’s favorite RPO concepts:
On the snap, the QB needs to get his eyes immediately on the overhang defender. If he moves up to play the run, it’s an easy throw for potentially a big gain.
Quick Game Combos
The more creative the offensive coordinator, the more variations of two receiver quick game concepts he can think up. For example, here we combine a pre-snap snap concept on the back side of outside zone with a two verticals concept for the post-snap read.
This particular combination of concepts pairs a horizontal stretch on the backside with a vertical stretch concept on the frontside of an outside run play. Pre-snap, again, we are reading the cushion of the backside cornerback or the overhang. The post-snap read is on the playside overhang defender. If he comes up to be the outside force player on outside zone, the QB fires the ball to the seam route in the space he vacates. If he plays man and runs off with the seam, it opens the edge up for our running back. Note the QB’s lane of vision during the mesh. He needs to shuffle step and ride the running back with his eyes on the overhang defender.
Be creative with your two receiver quick game. Use what you already have in your quick game package and find ways to get your best players the ball in space.