Notre Dame Missed RPO Or Hot?

By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 10, 2023
FirstDown PlayBook All 22 Tuesday

Protections are tricky things. Most fans thing they are completely about the offensive line. Folks who know a little bit more begin to look at the quarterback. Those who really understand the game know the receivers have their role too. Yet, they are rarely identified as the culprit. Today we want to look at this All 22 Tuesday play that we think was a Notre Dame missed RPO assignment by the slot receiver.

Our intent is not to call anyone out but instead to teach football. When you look at this video clip you will see a run fake that has all of the offensive linemen zone blocking to the play or fake side. The running back is obviously faking to that side too.

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Louisville has five defenders on the line of scrimmage showing nothing but rushing the quarterback or playing the run. It is 3rd & 5 so this makes sense. Notre Dame is in a 2×2 formation and if Hartman does not hand this ball off then he needs a passing game answer.

If you watch his eyes on the snap of the ball you will see he is looking for a quick answer to the side where the unblocked rusher is coming. We don’t think the slot receiver was on the same page. This is a very hard thing to coach because defenses love to disguise looks.

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It is also hard to coach because your slot receiver has to understand what your offensive line is doing. In our opinion, the slot receiver thought the quarterback was protected so he ran his normal route. Hartman was looking for a slant or in breaking hot route that was not there. This was likely part of the RPO tied into the run to the right. Subsequently you are about to see Notre Dame give up a sack.

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Now before we sign out, let’s not dismiss the Louisville defensive twist that also breaks free to the quarterback. You can see at the end of this play as the free rusher is upset that he did not get the easy sack, but the inside twist looper did. Click on the All 22 Play drawing or the video clip to watch!

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