Over at SB Nation I have some thoughts up on Chip Kelly’s return to the college game, which has been timed with Philly winning the Super Bowl while embracing many of his tactics and ideas.
Pro-style offenses these days tend to use RPOs, because why not read a defender on a running play for an opportunity to throw a pass? Especially when pro-style offense pretty much means 11 personnel at this point, so you always have to worry about defenders sneaking free-hitters into the box.
The challenge in the NFL is that OL can only get one yard down the field on a passing play whereas in the college game they can go three, but the NFL loves outside zone anyways which starts with lateral steps by the OL and doesn’t get guys down the field as quickly. So a pro-style RPO offense typically involves sweeps and outside zone as key plays.
The benefit to RPOs for a pro-style O is that they can push the defense to play man coverage, which brings greater predictability. Then if they have a good TE they can also command a double in the middle of the field and guarantee a lack of help outside.
It’ll be interesting to see if Kelly embraces a pro-style approach at UCLA or if he goes back to more of a run-heavy, option attack like they ran at Oregon.