No, it’s not Lane Kiffin. It’s the run/pass option (RPO). Bruce Feldman has a good piece up about it that’s worth your time.
One thing that I really love about college football is how its lack of parity encourages creativity and experimentation with offensive and defensive concepts. Just like some major college innovations eventually trickle up to the pros, the same kind of osmosis takes place from the lower to the upper levels of college ball.
Kuchar’s new study came out Thursday, and it’s a follow-up to the study on RPOs that X&O Labs produced in January 2015 that was by far the best seller the company has produced. As part of this project, X&O Labs tapped into some of the most prolific offensive coaches at the FCS, D-II and D-III levels. I suspect several of these guys will be working at the FBS level soon. Among them: Dustin Beurer, OC, Albion College (MI); Andrew Breiner, head coach,Fordham; Brent Dearmon, OC, Arkansas Tech; Brian Flinn, WR coach,Villanova; Jake Olsen, OC, Loras College (IA); Joe Osovet, former head coach, Nassau CC (NY); Drew Owens, OC, Western Connecticut State; Clay Patterson, head coach, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M; Matt Stansfield, run game coordinator and tight ends coach, Duquesne; and Pat St. Louis, OC, Morehead State. One of the coaches involved was D-III Texas Lutheran OC Andy Padron, who has since been hired as the co-OC at Bowling Green.
The 31-year Padron is a certainly a name to remember. The son of a Texas high school coach, he credits spending time learning from Hal Mumme to incorporate Air Raid pass concepts, as well as visiting Baylor every spring, and he took one of his favorite running plays from Chip Kelly’s Oregon attack.
Padron told me nearly 100 percent of his system is based on RPOs. Texas Lutheran was 6-24 the three seasons before Padron arrived to help turn TLU around, and last year the Bulldogs won a third straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship and led the SCAC in nearly every offensive category.
“It gives the offense a chance to be right,” he said of the RPOs impact. “You want to make (the defense) wrong. You want to have to think fast.”
The battle between offensive and defensive strategies never ends.