Miami football will have more RPO throws in 2020

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 19: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 19: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Dual-threat quarterbacks in the spread, up-tempo offenses utilizing the run-pass option have increased in college football. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee who is new to the Miami football program in 2020 is one of the leaders in the shift.

The addition of graduate transfer quarterback D’Eriq King from Houston and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee with his up-tempo, spread offense means the Miami football team will utilize the run-pass option more in 2020. With King at QB, the Hurricanes will call more plays that have the option of a pass or throw.

King is one of the best dual-threat QBs in the country and possibly the most skilled to use the run-pass option with. In four seasons at Houston, King threw for 4,925 yards, 50 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and ran for 1,421 yards and 28 TDs. Despite not having a mobile QB in 2019, SMU led the country in RPO throws.

With King at QB, Lashlee should be able to call more RPOs with Miami then he did running the SMU offense in 2019. As an experienced QB who is a gifted runner, expect Lashlee and the Miami football team to utilize the skills King has athletically and experience at QB to frequently call RPOs.

The RPO is a play that evolved out of the option-I made most famous by Nebraska and Tom Osborne. Pro Football Focus expects the amount of RPO throws to increase. PFF mentions bubble screens which the Miami offense utilized frequently during the Dennis Erickson era and how slant routes have replaced them.

"“RPO RATES CONTINUE TO CLIMBWe have data on RPOs going back to 2016, and the total number of RPOs has increased substantially every year since then. The total number of RPO throws targeted at least 2 yards past the line of scrimmage have increased, as well.Slant routes are the new bubble screens — they’ve also increased as a percentage of total throws.Since 2016, these throws have gone from ~4% to ~5% to ~6% to ~7% in subsequent seasons. This is where the modern college offense is right now. It’s not just about giving the quarterback the ability to throw a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage like we had seen in the past.New football is all about giving the quarterback the tools to read linebacker or safeties for downfield throws.”"

King is the perfect QB to have read what opposing LBs will do. Defenses have to respect King’s ability to run and likely have a “spy” on what he could do. Miami has the wide receivers with the ability to make big plays and run after the catch on slant routes or bubble screens, they need to go out and produce in 2020.

Senior Mike Harley was steady in 2019 and leads returnees on the Miami offense with 38 receptions last season. Junior Dee Wiggins and Mark Pope produced some big plays in 2019 but have to have more consistency in 2020. Wiggins had three of his four TDs 2019 during a two-game span against Louisville and FSU.

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Pope has a ton of upside and has improved each of his two seasons with Miami but needs to take an even greater leap in 2020. Redshirt freshman Jeremiah Payton and true freshman Xavier Restrepo are WRs to watch behind Harley, Wiggins and Pope. The new offense will put the ball in the hands of the playmakers in a better position.