[PODCAST] Four coaches share strategies on defending RPO using 1-high structure

By Matt Reed | Posted 8/9/2018


Today on the Coach and Coordinator podcast, it’s another edition of our “Your Call” series. We talk with several coaches from across the country at the high school and college football level. The topic for the podcast is defending the Run/Pass Option. This will be a two-part series on defending RPO, starting today and concluding tomorrow. Today’s episode talks with coaches who employ 1-high solutions when defending the RPO.

We recently conducted a Twitter poll on this very topic, where there were over 250 responses from coaches. The breakdown was as follows: 62 percent said they used a 1-high structure, with 48 percent favoring man coverage and 14 percent siding with zone coverage. And the remaining 38 percent went with a 2-high structure, split evenly 19 percent for each man and zone coverage defense.

twitter poll

Four coaches called in to share their specific strategies and tactics for defending the RPO with the 1-high structure. Here are the guests on today’s show.

Grant Caserta – Defensive Coordinator, Husson University (Bangor, Maine) – Twitter: @GCaserta1

Kyle Bakken – Defensive Coordinator, Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota) – Twitter: @KCBakk31

Nick Davis – Defensive Coordinator, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, Indiana) – Twitter: @Spread_Defense

PJ Gibbs – Defensive Coordinator, Palmetto Ridge High School (Naples, Florida) – Twitter: @coachPJGibbs

In today’s show, the guests and host Keith Grabowski discuss defending the RPO with the 1-high structure and the differences between using man and zone coverage.

Show Notes

  • 0:24     Responses from the Twitter poll on defending the Run/Pass Option
  • 2:00     Insight on defending RPO from previous show guests
  • 10:16   Your Call starting lineup
  • 12:16   Grant Caserta talks about breaking players up into defending pass or run
  • 13:36   GC: Influencing the offense to give the ball to certain players
  • 18:03   GC: The importance of the Free Safety in defending the RPO
  • 19:14   GC: Drills and practice periods used to practice RPO defense
  • 22:36   Kyle Bakken looks at his defensive philosophy against the RPO
  • 25:30   KB: Giving players one assignment in defending the RPO
  • 28:58   KB: Using a split coverage with the 1-high structure
  • 32:45   KB: Preparing defense for the RPO in practice
  • 37:19   Nick Davis on how he uses the 3-3 stack defense against the RPO
  • 39:37   ND: Defending quick concepts with the level two defenders
  • 46:06   ND: Advantages to using the Bear front against the RPO
  • 48:43   ND: Best advice to defending the RPO on a consistent basis
  • 50:51   PJ Gibbs explains how he uses the Rip Liz concept to defend the RPO
  • 51:46   PG: Using the Rip Liz with a 4-2-5 formation
  • 53:49   PG: Drilling his players to have discipline on defense
  • 55:36   PG: Dedicating specific time in practice to defending the RPO


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