RPO Rush Attempt Makeup RPO Rush Yard Makeup OVR Yards/Carry RPO Yards/Carry OVR Run Success RPO Run Success Georgia 18.1% 22.6% 5.49 6.85 47.8% 52.3%
The loudest and most obvious criticism of Georgia’s offense the last few years is that it’s unimaginative, basic, and very straightforward. Though there are a few misdirection elements, it’s not particularly modern. Only Tennessee used had RPOs compose a lower play share than their 14.9% clip inside the SEC last year. Georgia opted to stay in their inside zone rut and play their brand of football paired with an elite defense. Though that style got them to the SEC title game, it was apparent UGA’s offense lost its mojo halfway through the season. Perhaps if RPOs were incorporated sooner, 2019 could have unfolded a little more differently. Georgia was one of the six SEC offense who saw both is Yards/Carry and Success Rate improve on RPO runs. Only Kentucky averaged more per RPO rush; only Alabama sported better down-to-down consistency.
I like to believe RPOs worked due to the personnel Georgia had in place rather than working as elements of surprise. Though zone reads were plentiful, Fromm obviously wasn’t a playmaker as a ball carrier, and opponents treated him as such. More attention went towards neutralizing their backs, which overly worked containing this unit. Having an outlet to flip it too, on the other hand, certainly challenged teams from overloading the tackle box. Overall, the ‘Dawgs averaged 2.49 Yards Before Contact. Though still a top 5 clip, its far from world-beater territory. On RPO runs, however, no SEC bested Georgia’s 3.62 clip; not even the Big Blue Wall. Their 9.88% Run Havoc Rate on RPOs also sat atop the conference rankings, which was about 2x better than their 22.8% clip overall. With more cushion, UGA’s talented backs were able to create more explosive carries. The ‘Dawgs 17.5% Explosive Run Rate ticked up to 19.8% on RPOs — good for the SEC’s bronze medal. This helped their 1.36 increase in Georgia’s Yards/Carry. No other conference offense experience such improvement on RPOs compared to their cumulative number.
Despite popular belief, Fromm sported an average RPO Throw Rate within the SEC. Granted their bowl game helped skew his sample, but 13.5% of his targets came off RPOs. Though his Yards/Attempt moved backwards in these spots, his Success Rate, First Down+Touchdown Rate, and Completion% improved by 12.2, 0.9, and 14.2 percentage points, respectively. Georgia cracked the top5 in yards after the catch off RPOs with a 5.54 average.
Knowing Georgia’s modus operandi, it shouldn’t shock zones commanded a very large portion of their RPO rush attempts. Powers plays made up less than a tenth of their such tries. Other than zones being their preferred way to move the ball on the ground in general, the numbers back up their usage. Though powers still yielded very good returns relative to the rest of the conference, zones beefed up their RPO output to the tune of a 6.91 Yards/Carry and 53.3% Success Rate. No SEC offense topped the later last season.
With so much change this offseason, no one is for certain on what exactly we’ll see from Todd Monken directing this unit. Though losing core starters upfront and their lead back to the pros might have them second guess their RPO usage, implementing more of these than in year’s past is bound to help whoever wins the quarterback battle between Jamie Newman and JT Daniels. Both came from offenses where RPOs saw plenty of reps.
Remember all that talk about mid-season self-scouting? It didn’t take. It’s so Coley to use what worked less.