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How To Add Wing-t Concepts To Your Rpo Offense

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By Author: Football Playbooks
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Rich Hargitt is the head coach at Emmett HS (ID) and the creator of the Surface to Air System.

More than that, he’s one of the best clinic speakers and teachers of the game I’ve ever been around, and we’re going to talk about the way he installs his gap scheme and Wing-T run game into his already potent spread and RPO attack.

Adding the Belly Play to the RPO Spread

Emmett had started the season running a lot of traditional gap schemes like power and counter, then midway through they decided to add Belly and Buck to give them another way to attack what they were seeing.

In this article we’re going to talk about the Belly RPO scheme they’ve installed at Emmett high school, and all the little things they do to teach it and coach it up.

The rules they’ve taught their QB are as follows: If they call Belly with a wing or a fullback, it’s a tailback Belly. On the other hand, if there’s no wing or fullback to the play side, it’s a QB Belly, both with potential RPO wrinkles attached.

An important thing to note here is that Coach Hargitt does not have a different call for QB ...
... or TB Belly. He just calls Belly or Belly RPO, and based on the formation the players understand what’s coming.

The Original Belly Play

Coach Hargitt actually started as a Wing-T guy, so he’s got a lot of insight into the finer details of running the Belly play.

What he used to tell the fullback was to “step over” with his playside foot (or widen his stance horizontally), then crossover with the opposite foot, and then take your next step downhill with that playside foot and take the handoff.

The QB’s feet were pigeon-toed, and they taught him to completely open up and roll around, and take a step back off the midline and fit that ball in there to the back.

What he’s done with the QB Belly is to teach the QB to run the same footwork as the ball carrier in the traditional Wing-T.

The QB Belly RPO

In this example we’re going to take a look at the QB Belly play to the open side of a 2×2 formation.

Coach Hargitt tells his linemen to the playside to “read the B-gap.” They let the guards make the decision for the tackles, and they even allow them to create and use their own verbiage, so when Coach Hargitt says this is a good opportunity for a “GT block”, the guys up front may not even call it that. The verbiage part doesn’t matter to him as long as the blocks get there.

They usually want a “Down” and “Out” block to the front side of this play, but sometimes they can get away with a base block as well.

Moving to the backside of the play, this is something you have to spend a lot of time on.

What they tell the center is to create a double team that “lifts vertically”. They don’t want the double team to travel left to right, they want it to lift straight ahead north and south.

The center will snap the ball and step with his near foot and lift that shade right now. If the backer triggers and comes through the A-gap, the center comes off and you’ve basically created two down blocks toward the play.

The backside guard and tackle are stepping with their inside/playside foot, but still end up base blocking their man. The footwork is to make it tougher for those defenders to beat them across face, since they believe it’s next to impossible for this play to get beat on that side of the ball as long as the linemen aren’t immediately beaten across face.

As Coach Hargitt says, the goal on the backside of Belly is just “not to hold.”

The tight end can stay in and block or you can have him run some kind of RPO route to take guys with him, but Coach Hargitt usually doesn’t.

They feel like if they’re calling QB Belly, they’ve identified something where they want to run the football, so having an RPO option takes that away from the reason they called the play.

The tailback is taking a lateral “stretch step” and block the outside half of the B-gap player, aiming for his outside number.

At the same time, the QB’s footwork is:

Open

Crossover

Get downhill in the gap

The reason is because this makes it easy for the QB to read and throw an open side RPO on the run (if there’s something tagged there, which in the Surface to Air System, there almost always is).

Adding the RPO

In 2×2, they’re reading the invert player in the diagram.

If the invert player becomes a B-gap fall-in support player, replace him with the RPO. On the other hand if he truly is a 2-read guy, just run the ball.

The specific RPO concept doesn’t matter as much here. You can run fade-flat, double hitches, anything you like, just throw opposite of him.

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