FNF Coaches Talk — Clemson’s RPO scheme, Soft-Tissue Injuries, the Mercy Rule

FNF Coaches Talk

Welcome back, Coaches. Here are today’s stories.

1. RPOs are the wave of the future (Clemson Maven)

From the wishbone to the I-formation to the shot-gun to the pistol and eventually the hurry-up, no-huddle offense, the trends in football have been almost too numerous to count. Many of you know about — or might even be using — one of the newest trends in the world of football: the RPO, or run-pass-option.

The benefit of the RPO in today’s game is it allows teams that want to play with tempo to go as fast as they want, while still having the ability to have a degree of flexibility within the offense.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney believes the RPO was just a natural evolution of the zone read.

“The RPO stuff is just an evolution of zone-read,” Swinney said. “And defenses getting good, and offenses having to make adjustments. It’s play-action. That’s all it is. It’s old-fashioned, back-in-the-day 144/145 sprint draw, I-backs, turn, here we go, then you get your eyes up downfield and throw the play-action passes. Create space with that.

Swinney believes the RPO scheme places more emphasis on the quarterback to make in-game decisions, which requires more prep work for coaches in the lead-up to the games.

“You give yourself a chance to have a successful play,” Swinney said. “But, you have something built in to that play that has a chance for big-play potential if you get certain looks. So you’re not always feeling like you have to make a perfect call. You have answers within the call. And there’s no tempo team who doesn’t do that, because otherwise you can’t play fast. And you have to equip them with answers and the tools they need to stay on schedule.”

What are some of advantages and disadvantages of running an RPO scheme?

2. Do South Carolina’s injury woes link to training? Will Muschamp explains his outlook (Greenville News)

South Carolina’s football team was beset with injuries all throughout the past season. The Gamecocks lost 15 or so players to season-ending surgeries. With that came questions about their training, the strength staff South Carolina uses.

Will Muschamp, USC’s coach, fielded just such a question last week, and his answer began with a little research he said he’d done.

“In college football, at most programs, you generally have 4-6 surgeries per season on a college football season,” Muschamp said.
So how is South Carolina doing on that front?
“Our first year we had two,” Muschamp said. “That’s unheard of. That doesn’t happen. We’re doing the same training we did then as far as the weight room, as far as the offseason was concerned. Our second year, we had six, which is about normal for where you are.”

The coach went to lengths to say some of that was about issues beyond a training staff’s jurisdiction.

“One of those was hereditary, was a subluxed kneecap, had nothing to do with our training staff,” Muschamp said. “Two of those situations were redos on shoulders that were from high school. … I think in the recruiting process, we need to be careful in those situations.”

As he noted, the shoulders or labrums were nagging issues, but the three torn ACLs and two ankle injuries were the ones that fell into the category of “soft tissue” injuries.

That term soft tissue has been one Muschamp has harped on through his time at South Carolina. Samuel’s issue early in his career was a perpetually nagging hamstring, the kind of thing the coach said his player could take care of with proper training and hydration.

“If we end up having all soft tissue, then obviously something you might be doing in the training room is wrong,” Muschamp said.

What preventative measures do you take to avoid soft-tissue injuries?

3. Indiana association expected to pass football mercy rule, suspend fans who get ejected (Indy Star)

The Indiana High School Athletic Association will have its annual board of directors meeting on Monday with 23 proposals on the agenda.

Here are some changes that are likely to be approved:

>> A mercy rule for football will go in front the executive committee. The rule, submitted by the Indiana Football Coaches Association, calls for a mandatory running clock in the second half once a team reaches a 35-point lead.

The other change in conjunction with the mercy rule is to allow six quarters of participation per week (four on junior varsity and two on varsity) instead of five.

And here’s one we didn’t realize was a problem.

A proposal for a fan who is ejected from a contest to be barred from the next home contest will likely pass with 97% support.

What do you think of instituting a Mercy Rule at the varsity level?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!