Film Study - Sean Clifford & the RPO

The Spin Meister

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An altered state
CLIFFORD RPO FILM STUDY

See link. Idea for this video stemmed from Yurcich's comments from the spring re: Clifford comfort and decision-making with RPOs. One thing that stood out between Yurcich's concepts and Ciarrocca's RPO concepts is how much of Yurcich's stuff is/was predicated on motion.
If decisions are dependent on pre snap motions that means the decision is made before the snap. Should be much better. You can focus on where the motion is and how the d reacts. Much more focused.
 
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lazydave841

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One thing that stood out between Yurcich's concepts and Ciarrocca's RPO concepts is how much of Yurcich's stuff is/was predicated on motion.

One thing that stands out for me is how after Villanova basically stifled our running game, everyone else decided to muddy up the running lanes there after. RPOs at their core work best when you can threaten the defense with the run. We couldn't run.

Clifford's poor decisions are amplified when you see the space that existed.
 

Rip_E_2_Joe_PA

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One thing that stands out for me is how after Villanova basically stifled our running game, everyone else decided to muddy up the running lanes there after. RPOs at their core work best when you can threaten the defense with the run. We couldn't run.

Clifford's poor decisions are amplified when you see the space that existed.
Did you miss the fact that he set the run up for getting stuffed by missing the read for the pass...watch again. Clifford bad decisions killed his runners.
 
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lazydave841

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Did you miss the fact that he set the run up for getting stuffed by missing the read fir the pass...watch again. IClifford killed his runners.

No, I saw that. Definitely agree he killed them. I'm talking about how teams defended us moreso. Clifford making the wrong read doesn't change the fact that teams loaded the box and made running near impossible.

How many correct reads does it take to get teams to back off?
 

Rip_E_2_Joe_PA

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No, I saw that. Definitely agree he killed them. I'm talking about how teams defended us moreso. Clifford making the wrong read doesn't change the fact that teams loaded the box and made running near impossible.

How many correct reads does it take to get teams to back off?

I'd say Clifford missed 80% mol that were not inside slants. If he hit them crowding the box would have burned those defenses. If he blew the read over and over again and I was the RB... I would have forced him to eat the ball..
In fact, that happened a few times.
 

Wallace Breen

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The biggest issue here is that MY doesn't run an RPO based offensive system. The RPO plays were an ad hoc addition due to the fact that the linemen couldn't execute the blocking scheme due to square-peg round-whole syndrome and we don't have the receivers necessary to challenge 1/3 of the field. It was a cobbled on capability designed to replace the deep passing game critical to the scheme's success.

Bottom line, while everything said in the video is mostly correct, the lack of overall context makes it rather contrived as the RPO isn't the main threat nor will it be with Allar and younger, hopefully more capable receivers take over in 2023.
 

CaliLION79

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The RPO has been a staple of Yurcich's offenses at Okie St and Texas...even when he had human statue Mason Rudolph at QB. It won't go away when Clifford finally leaves. We did a whole video on all his old rpo concepts this time last year.

 
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Obliviax

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I love these and learn a lot. After watching them, I can't say any of these decisions were really bad. For example, the first two, he exemplifies the position of the DE or OLB AFTER the play was committed to by the QB. The D positions themselves and anticipates the play. The plays were not as obvious until the play is committed to and the D commits to defending it.

I do like the slant toward the end where they put our best WR wide, and have a slot receiver next to him. If the S commits to defending the slot receiver short, the WR runs a slant behind him. If not, a slant in front of him. Or, he can run a fly pattern. You could really just run that play over and over and take what is given.

Also, most of those plays were early in the season. I think SC got hurt vs Iowa and there were no more options. I think the team told SC to NOT run the ball. Teams figured that out pretty quickly (after all, we didn't have a second team QB) and never had to account for a running QB. That really took the teeth out of the RPO and our offense really struggled after that in every single game.
 
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The Spin Meister

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An altered state
I love these and learn a lot. After watching them, I can't say any of these decisions were really bad. For example, the first two, he exemplifies the position of the DE or OLB AFTER the play was committed to by the QB. The D positions themselves and anticipates the play. The plays were not as obvious until the play is committed to and the D commits to defending it.

I do like the slant toward the end where they put our best WR wide, and have a slot receiver next to him. If the S commits to defending the slot receiver short, the WR runs a slant behind him. If not, a slant in front of him. Or, he can run a fly pattern. You could really just run that play over and over and take what is given.

Also, most of those plays were early in the season. I think SC got hurt vs Iowa and there were no more options. I think the team told SC to NOT run the ball. Teams figured that out pretty quickly (after all, we didn't have a second team QB) and never had to account for a running QB. That really took the teeth out of the RPO and our offense really struggled after that in every single game.
On the third or fourth play, which was a quick screen to to trips on the right, he criticized Clifford for hesitating and throwing too late. But when Clifford first looked over the intended receiver hadn’t stepped back and was covered up by the other two receivers and Clifford couldn’t even see him. He looked elsewhere and looked back. If he had been patient for second and hesitated until the guy came back it would have been a positive play.

This is a timing issue. Clifford looked over too quickly before the play could set up. Then he got anxious and looked for other options too soon. My guess is part of his edited personality.
 

Obliviax

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On the third or fourth play, which was a quick screen to to trips on the right, he criticized Clifford for hesitating and throwing too late. But when Clifford first looked over the intended receiver hadn’t stepped back and was covered up by the other two receivers and Clifford couldn’t even see him. He looked elsewhere and looked back. If he had been patient for second and hesitated until the guy came back it would have been a positive play.

This is a timing issue. Clifford looked over too quickly before the play could set up. Then he got anxious and looked for other options too soon. My guess is part of his edited personality.
I agree totally. Not sure who screwed up the timing.

Where I am not sure is that the S saw SC look over and any element of surprise was now gone. If he waited a second, the S would have come down to cover. By faking the run, the D committed to stopping the QB which gave the WR a crease to, at least, pick up a couple of yards.
 

lazydave841

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Clifford looked over too quickly before the play could set up

Where I am not sure is that the S saw SC look over and any element of surprise was now gone.

Coach Codutti seems to think Clifford saw the S coming down hard and didn't trust the WR to block him. The WR stepping back for the screen was going to a spot. Clifford was supposed to throw to that spot before he got there.

The big reason he used this play, I think, is because it illustrated Clifford not trusting the play call. Yes, the S did come down hard, but that's something you have to live with. If he beats the blocker and tackles the WR for a loss or the blocker whiffs and he gets an INT, you die on that hill. You had 3 v 2 at the LoS. KLS had 10+ yards to work with if the ball is thrown on time. Shake the safety and he might have scored.

Instead, we got a 5 yard gain.
 

The Spin Meister

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Coach Codutti seems to think Clifford saw the S coming down hard and didn't trust the WR to block him. The WR stepping back for the screen was going to a spot. Clifford was supposed to throw to that spot before he got there.

The big reason he used this play, I think, is because it illustrated Clifford not trusting the play call. Yes, the S did come down hard, but that's something you have to live with. If he beats the blocker and tackles the WR for a loss or the blocker whiffs and he gets an INT, you die on that hill. You had 3 v 2 at the LoS. KLS had 10+ yards to work with if the ball is thrown on time. Shake the safety and he might have scored.

Instead, we got a 5 yard gain.
Except the safety never moved. Clifford should have made a better run fake which would have set up the timing for the receiver to step back. But he got excited and looked over too soon. I think he saw the safety sitting back and even step back just before the snap, and was too anxious to make the play. But what do I know since I haven’t talked to any of the key actors.

What is frustrating watching all of these is that just a miner adjustment turns each play into a huge gain or score. One missed assignment, timing off a half second, a different read. Eleven guys on the field and one screws up and the play is blown.

Has to be really maddening as a coach.
 
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Obliviax

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Except the safety never moved. Clifford should have made a better run fake which would have set up the timing for the receiver to step back. But he got excited and looked over too soon. I think he saw the safety sitting back and even stepped back just before the snap, and was too anxious to make the play. But what do I know since I haven’t talked to any of the key actors.

What is frustrating watching all of these is that just a miner adjustment turns each play into a huge gain or score. One missed assignment, timing off a half second, a different read. Eleven guys on the field and one screws up and the play is blown.

Has to be really maddening as a coach.
Yep...good points. And that is why the program has really sucked on offense. JoMo leaves, we get a new OC, COVID hits, we have all kinds of running back injury problems, we fire the old OC after one year, we hire a new OC, we lose our backup QB, and we can't seem to develop a backup QB.

Lets hope things start to come together for the O this year after several years of ineptitude.
 

ram2020

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I love these and learn a lot. After watching them, I can't say any of these decisions were really bad. For example, the first two, he exemplifies the position of the DE or OLB AFTER the play was committed to by the QB. The D positions themselves and anticipates the play. The plays were not as obvious until the play is committed to and the D commits to defending it.

I do like the slant toward the end where they put our best WR wide, and have a slot receiver next to him. If the S commits to defending the slot receiver short, the WR runs a slant behind him. If not, a slant in front of him. Or, he can run a fly pattern. You could really just run that play over and over and take what is given.

Also, most of those plays were early in the season. I think SC got hurt vs Iowa and there were no more options. I think the team told SC to NOT run the ball. Teams figured that out pretty quickly (after all, we didn't have a second team QB) and never had to account for a running QB. That really took the teeth out of the RPO and our offense really struggled after that in every single game.
That and we simply could not run the ball last year. Thats a mess for an RPO
 
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ram2020

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Start completing some of these passes for big gains and the run would improve dramatically. That’s how the RPO works.
Or prove you can run the ball a bit and that will open up the pass game. That is the beauty of the RPO, need to stress both parts or the defense.
 

lazydave841

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Except the safety never moved.

I'm calling the inside DB a S. CB, S, DB. He was about 4 yards off the LoS and at the snap he runs upfield hard.

I wasn't talking about the deep S. My mistake for the confusion.

Clifford should have made a better run fake which would have set up the timing for the receiver to step back.

Right here is where I disagree. The formation made the run fake null. The slot DB attacks as soon as he sees movement. Strange actually blocks him really well, being that the DB was moving towards the line I thought.

I'm in line with Codutti here. If Clifford fires the ball as the play was designed, you got KLS in a 1v1 with a deep safety.

One missed assignment, timing off a half second, a different read. Eleven guys on the field and one screws up and the play is blown.

Has to be really maddening as a coach.

The fact that we played so strong vs the Buckeyes and Michigan yet drop games like Sparty and Illinois is what bothers me. Get this team up to play like the Buckeyes are on the field every week.
 

The Spin Meister

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I'm calling the inside DB a S. CB, S, DB. He was about 4 yards off the LoS and at the snap he runs upfield hard.

I wasn't talking about the deep S. My mistake for the confusion.



Right here is where I disagree. The formation made the run fake null. The slot DB attacks as soon as he sees movement. Strange actually blocks him really well, being that the DB was moving towards the line I thought.

I'm in line with Codutti here. If Clifford fires the ball as the play was designed, you got KLS in a 1v1 with a deep safety.



The fact that we played so strong vs the Buckeyes and Michigan yet drop games like Sparty and Illinois is what bothers me. Get this team up to play like the Buckeyes are on the field every week.
Disagree. Making a fake for a second will set up the timing. Can’t throw immediately and risk a pick six. A half second fake would help freeze that dB a bit and given the proper timing.
 

Obliviax

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Disagree. Making a fake for a second will set up the timing. Can’t throw immediately and risk a pick six. A half second fake would help freeze that dB a bit and given the proper timing.
Agreed.

Although it is tough to make any clear decisions because a lot is contextually related to the game situation. If we haven't been able to establish a run, or if it is in the two-minute drill, the S doesn't care much about the run. He is simply trying to take the passing game away. So even the best run fake doesn't make much difference if it is third and 14. Not disagree but only pointing out that the run fake is only effective if the D has a reason to fear that he actually hands the ball off.
 
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lazydave841

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Disagree. Making a fake for a second will set up the timing. Can’t throw immediately and risk a pick six. A half second fake would help freeze that dB a bit and given the proper timing.

Watch how the slot DB plays the play. He doesn't appear to even look at the backfield. He's straight running into the trips. He read the play, but you have to trust the receiver to make the block (Strange did).

The outside DB does. He sits on the play reading. Had the slot DB done this, the play fake works better. Here, I think the goal should be getting the ball out quickly.
 

The Spin Meister

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Agreed.

Although it is tough to make any clear decisions because a lot is contextually related to the game situation. If we haven't been able to establish a run, or if it is in the two-minute drill, the S doesn't care much about the run. He is simply trying to take the passing game away. So even the best run fake doesn't make much difference if it is third and 14. Not disagree but only pointing out that the run fake is only effective if the D has a reason to fear that he actually hands the ball off.
But executing a run fake here i more to established the timing of the pass. Without the fake he looked immediately right and could see the receiver or how the defensive players reacted. For all he knew on of the two defenders at the line good have hammered the intended receiver or been playing right on top of him.

A quick run fake would have been just the right amount of time for the receiver to step back. Note the receiver takes two steps forward to drive the defender off the line. A run fake would compensate time wise for this action.

A lot of the back field motion in plays is more about timing than it is to freeze or fool the defense. Sometimes the backs take a step in one direction and then come back to allow for a pulling guard or tackle to get into position to make a block. Same here.....the run fake is to allow time for,the receiver to take his steps forward and then come back.
 

The Spin Meister

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Watch how the slot DB plays the play. He doesn't appear to even look at the backfield. He's straight running into the trips. He read the play, but you have to trust the receiver to make the block (Strange did).

The outside DB does. He sits on the play reading. Had the slot DB done this, the play fake works better. Here, I think the goal should be getting the ball out quickly.
See above comment.
 

lazydave841

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here.....the run fake is to allow time for,the receiver to take his steps forward and then come back.

I get that, but I'm thinking getting the ball out quicker leads to a better play. If Clifford does the ball fake you are talking about here, he probably still doesn't throw it when he turns. The DB crashing down scared him when the probability of him covering 7 yards and disrupting the pass was very low without a whiff on the block and NFL starter quality ability.

Looking back on the play log, I think this play was on 1st and 10 after a 25 yard gain on the 1st and 10 after an OSU punt. This was a tempo play call that caught the defense exactly where Yurcich wanted them. Splitting hairs over 1 second aside, Clifford needed to pull the trigger where Codutti points out to maximize the potential gain.
 

The Spin Meister

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I get that, but I'm thinking getting the ball out quicker leads to a better play. If Clifford does the ball fake you are talking about here, he probably still doesn't throw it when he turns. The DB crashing down scared him when the probability of him covering 7 yards and disrupting the pass was very low without a whiff on the block and NFL starter quality ability.

Looking back on the play log, I think this play was on 1st and 10 after a 25 yard gain on the 1st and 10 after an OSU punt. This was a tempo play call that caught the defense exactly where Yurcich wanted them. Splitting hairs over 1 second aside, Clifford needed to pull the trigger where Codutti points out to maximize the potential gain.
Of course he threw it too late. But he couldn’t throw it immediately because the receiver was behind two other receivers plus the defenders. Then He looked downfield, then took a couple steps, and then threw it....way too late.

But had he executed the fake properly, the receiver would have been in view at the proper time, the ball thrown at the proper time, and a major gain ensued. He screwed up the fake, which was critical to the timing.
 
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LeatherHelmets

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Bottom line to me is will SC be any better this year? Based on where he seems to be focused I'm highly doubtful he'll show improvement even as a seems like a 9th year player.
 

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