More defending the RPO talk

One persistent thought I had watching Clemson’s take down of Alabama in the last national title game was that Dabo and his staff had taken a fair amount of Georgia’s game plan from the SECCG and used it more successfully.

So naturally, I’m intrigued by this Ian Boyd piece that gives credit for Clemson’s work defending Alabama’s bread and butter RPO game… to Mississippi State.

For the vast majority of their season, Alabama faced defenses that focused on trying to stop the run. That led to lots of open RPOs and play-action opportunities for their speedy WR group and consequently four of them had at least 700 receiving yards and Devonta Smith nearly made five with 693.

Mississippi State did things differently. They surmised that they couldn’t survive allowing Tagovailoa to throw open slants, screens, and downfield shots to their WR corps and instead chose to take away the easy pass options and force Alabama to beat them by running the football.

I’m not trying to be one, but that’s what Georgia did in the SECCG.  And Georgia did a better job, at least judging by Tagovailoa’s passer rating.

  • Mississippi State:  138.46
  • Georgia:  92.30
  • Clemson:  145.24

It’s all the more interesting to me, based on what Boyd had to say about the national title game Georgia lost to ‘Bama.

This “glance” pass option against man coverage outside was a game changer that presented clear problems to the Dawgs.

Georgia clearly was ready for Tua’s RPO work in the rematch, even if that meant it was more vulnerable to the Tide’s rushing attack.  Kudos to the staff, although we already had a notion that Kirby’s been focused on stopping the RPO.

Now, if only the Dawgs could learn how to handle an in-game quarterback change.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

15 responses to “More defending the RPO talk

  1. Corch Irvin Meyers New USC Trojans Corch (2020)

    I think you meant to say, “Now, if Kirby could just handle trying NOT to sit on leads in the fourth quarter of games against teams that can score in less than a minute.”

    I think that’s what you meant to say.


  2. David K

    Tua’s mobility had a lot to do with helping us shoot down their RPO. He wasn’t as effective scrambling in the pocket due to his health. I’m not saying we didn’t play well, we did, but that QB rating was as bad as it was because he was no threat to run and evade defenders. We deserve some credit but not all of it.


    • Tony Barnfart

      Tua did have the 2nd best Week 13 QBR in all of FBS the prior week vs Auburn. Justsayin…….. I think we just kicked his ass. He gets really flustered, wreckless and havoc prone if you squeeze his pocket and press the crap out of his receivers. Basically take the fight to them.

      Can he move the pocket really well, yes, but I’ve never been scared of him as a running threat like Hurts was (obviously), primarily because he’s so arrogant and greedy in wanting the homerun ball every down.


      • ASEF

        He started the game with one bad ankle and then injured the other. For a passer who relies on his lower body to produce his velocity and his footwork to create his angles, he was pretty much dead in the water. Hurts lit us up.


  3. Bulldog Joe

    Best way to handle a late QB change is to have depth in your front seven.

    Without D’Andre Walker and Monty Rice, it wasn’t a championship defense.


  4. Mikey

    Well you are a Clemson expert a person who has a comprehensive and knowledge a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of Clemson vs Georgia btw I got a bunch of old Georgia vs Clemson college programs. Those games and the rivalry has been forgot. Oh the old days Georgia played Clemson it couldn’t get any better


  5. Greg

    Losing Walker REALLY hurt in that game.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree. I recently re-watched the game. We were really taking it to them the first 3 quarters and those INTs were huge. We shoulda put 40 on them. Walker went down and offense went into a shell – essentially quit trying to score, and that was all she wrote.


  6. Mikey

    “And Georgia did a better job” wtf we lost the game stop making fucking excuses


  7. Biggus Rickus

    I wasn’t impressed with Boyd’s analysis here. He writes as if Alabama was productive on the ground in these games, and relatively speaking, they weren’t. Against MSU, they had their worst per carry average of the season, and Clemson held them to the third worst. Assuming his assessment of their strategy is correct, it amounts to arguing that if you can contain a team’s running game with six in the box, you can stop their offense. No shit.


  8. UGA '97

    Football study hall has a good writeup on RPOs & spread a few weeks ago. All abour matchups, scheme and adjustments.