RPO drills, or run-pass option drills, are crucial to any quarterback’s game. They help quarterbacks make quick and accurate decisions on the field, which can be the difference between a successful play and a turnover. Here are some of the top RPO drills that high school quarterbacks can do in the offseason to improve their game:
- Footwork drills: In RPO plays, quarterbacks must make quick decisions about whether to hand the ball off or keep it and pass. This means that their footwork needs to be quick and precise. One drill that can help with this is the “five-step drop” drill. The quarterback takes five steps back from the center in this drill, simulating a pass play. The quarterback then quickly steps up to simulate a handoff or drops back to pass.
- Read-option drills: Read-option plays are a type of RPO where the quarterback reads the defense and decides whether to hand the ball off or keep it and run. A simple drill to improve read-option skills is the “mesh” drill. In this drill, the quarterback and running back practice the handoff, with the quarterback reading the defense and deciding whether to keep the ball or hand it off.
- Pass read drills: RPOs can also involve a pass option. In this case, the quarterback must quickly read the defense and decide whether to pass or hand the ball off. A drill to improve this skill is the “bubble screen” drill. In this drill, the quarterback reads the defense and decides whether to pass to a receiver on the outside or hand the ball off to the running back.
- Decision-making drills: RPOs require quarterbacks to make quick decisions based on what the defense is doing. Practicing different defensive looks is a good way to improve decision-making skills. One drill to do this is the “blitz drill.” In this drill, the defense sends extra players to rush the quarterback, forcing them to quickly read the defense and decide.
- Play-action drills: In RPOs, play-action can be a key element in fooling the defense. To improve play-action skills, quarterbacks can practice with the “bootleg” drill. The quarterback fakes a handoff in this drill and rolls out to the side, simulating a play-action pass. The quarterback must then make a quick read and decide whether to throw the ball or run.
RPO drills are essential to any high school quarterback’s training regimen. By practicing footwork, read options, pass reads, decision-making, and play-action, quarterbacks can improve their skills and become more effective on the field. High school quarterbacks can set themselves up for success in the upcoming season by working hard in the offseason and focusing on these key areas.