Screaming Eagles fall short against high-scoring Rattlers

Sports Illustrated
<p>It is important when designing an offense it is important to have “built-in answers” and always stay one step ahead of the defense. This is no different in the Indoor Football League, where defensive coordinators scheme weekly to take away their opponents top run plays. One way to take advantage of a disciplined defense is to employ Run-Pass Options (RPOs) into the offensive playbook.</p><p>Run-Pass Options have become commonplace on fields across the country from the NFL to the prep level, and they have started to make their way indoors to cause conflict in defensive assignments. In theory RPOs take two or three schemes and combine them into one play to take advantage of both aggressive and disciplined defensive units. In each RPO, there will typically be a pre-snap look for the quarterback paired with a 1st level read, and often a 2nd or 3rd level read post-snap. By taking a base run concept such as the zone read and combining it with a quick screen concept or quick game route the defense can be tasked with defending the entire field leaving an area vulnerable to be attacked by the offense. </p><p>RPO with Quick Screen</p><p>Lets look at an RPO concept involving an inside run concept with a quick bubble screen attached to the play from a trips formation.</p><p>This is a very simple installation as they are taking a base run concept such as the zone read, and combining with the simple bubble screen to the inside receiver in the trips alignment with the two outside receivers blocking &quot;most dangerous man&quot; blocking principles. This is a simple install for the offense as this is not a “new” play concept, but one that combines the rules and execution of two existing schemes within the offense.</p><p>The play will begin with the quarterback executing his “1st level read” on the backside defensive end. As the offensive line and running back execute the zone read scheme the quarterback will decide based on the defensive ends reaction if he will give the ball to the back or execute a pull read and keep the ball on the perimeter. If the defensive end widens or comes up the field, the quarterback will hand the football off to the running back on the interior run play.</p><p>Should the defensive end give the quarterback a pull read, he will immediately get his eyes to his “2nd level read” which is the #3 defender from the wall to the bubble screen side. If this defender attacks the box and is disciplined in his run fit, the quarterback will throw the ball immediately to the bubble screen as the offense now has leverage to the side of the bubble screen.</p><p>If this defender inverts with the bubble or if it&#39;s a man coverage situation the quarterback will keep the football outside in the area vacated by this defender. You can quickly see that when executed properly the offense has an answer for any defensive reaction post-snap.</p><p>RPO with Quick Pass</p><p>As we covered with the Zone Read paired with a quick screen, an effective RPO can also be designed by combining a base running concept with the threat of a quick pass on the perimeter.</p><p>In this situation, the quarterback will execute his “1st level read” on the defensive end and if given a pull read he will pull the football and attack the perimeter. This can be easily paired with an existing quick passing game concept that can attack second and third level defenders in the same manner as was done with the bubble screen. By attaching quick screens and quick passing game concepts to the zone read, this allows teams the ability to effectively run the zone read and force the defense to defend the entire field even when they may not have a quarterback who is a true running threat.</p><p>RPOs are a great way for an IFL offense to protect their basic running plays, and ensure that the defense is always WRONG in their reactions.</p>

Breaking down the Screaming Eagles' run-pass options

It is important when designing an offense it is important to have “built-in answers” and always stay one step ahead of the defense. This is no different in the Indoor Football League, where defensive coordinators scheme weekly to take away their opponents top run plays. One way to take advantage of a disciplined defense is to employ Run-Pass Options (RPOs) into the offensive playbook.

Run-Pass Options have become commonplace on fields across the country from the NFL to the prep level, and they have started to make their way indoors to cause conflict in defensive assignments. In theory RPOs take two or three schemes and combine them into one play to take advantage of both aggressive and disciplined defensive units. In each RPO, there will typically be a pre-snap look for the quarterback paired with a 1st level read, and often a 2nd or 3rd level read post-snap. By taking a base run concept such as the zone read and combining it with a quick screen concept or quick game route the defense can be tasked with defending the entire field leaving an area vulnerable to be attacked by the offense.

RPO with Quick Screen

Lets look at an RPO concept involving an inside run concept with a quick bubble screen attached to the play from a trips formation.

This is a very simple installation as they are taking a base run concept such as the zone read, and combining with the simple bubble screen to the inside receiver in the trips alignment with the two outside receivers blocking "most dangerous man" blocking principles. This is a simple install for the offense as this is not a “new” play concept, but one that combines the rules and execution of two existing schemes within the offense.

The play will begin with the quarterback executing his “1st level read” on the backside defensive end. As the offensive line and running back execute the zone read scheme the quarterback will decide based on the defensive ends reaction if he will give the ball to the back or execute a pull read and keep the ball on the perimeter. If the defensive end widens or comes up the field, the quarterback will hand the football off to the running back on the interior run play.

Should the defensive end give the quarterback a pull read, he will immediately get his eyes to his “2nd level read” which is the #3 defender from the wall to the bubble screen side. If this defender attacks the box and is disciplined in his run fit, the quarterback will throw the ball immediately to the bubble screen as the offense now has leverage to the side of the bubble screen.

If this defender inverts with the bubble or if it's a man coverage situation the quarterback will keep the football outside in the area vacated by this defender. You can quickly see that when executed properly the offense has an answer for any defensive reaction post-snap.

RPO with Quick Pass

As we covered with the Zone Read paired with a quick screen, an effective RPO can also be designed by combining a base running concept with the threat of a quick pass on the perimeter.

In this situation, the quarterback will execute his “1st level read” on the defensive end and if given a pull read he will pull the football and attack the perimeter. This can be easily paired with an existing quick passing game concept that can attack second and third level defenders in the same manner as was done with the bubble screen. By attaching quick screens and quick passing game concepts to the zone read, this allows teams the ability to effectively run the zone read and force the defense to defend the entire field even when they may not have a quarterback who is a true running threat.

RPOs are a great way for an IFL offense to protect their basic running plays, and ensure that the defense is always WRONG in their reactions.

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The five-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (4-3) remained perfect in conference play with a 73-60 win over the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles (1-6) on Friday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. The win keeps the Arizona within striking distance of the Conference lead.

The Rattlers racked up eight rushing touchdowns in their win Saturday night, a feat that has not been seen before in Arizona. Running back Darrell Monroe led the way with five touchdowns, a new team record. He finished with 80 yards on 14 attempts (5.7 yards per rush). Jamal Miles had a big day on the ground as well, adding 22 yards and three touchdowns. Miles also returned the initial kickoff for a 56-yard touchdown. Quarterback Cody Sokol had a productive night, completing six of his 10 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He did have one interception.

The Rattlers secondary had a big night too. Defensive backs Allen Chapman and Arkeith Brown each had an interception, and Nathan Lindsey picked off two two-point conversions.

Salt Lake quarterback Verlon Reed accounted for most of the Screaming Eagles offense, scoring eight total touchdowns. He completed 20 of his 32 passing attempts for 162 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed 11 times for 107 yards (9.7 yards per rush) and four more scores.

Arizona got off to a quick start as wide receiver Miles returned the kickoff 56 yards for a score. After forcing the Screaming Eagles into a three-and-out, the Rattlers drove the ball down the field and took a 13-0 lead on a two-yard rush by Monroe.

The Screaming Eagles responded. Reed took the ball 34 yards for a touchdown on the second play of their drive. On the next Rattlers possession, Sokol was sacked by defensive end Jerrod Black and fumbled the ball, which defensive end Benjamin Compton recovered and returned 10 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Trent Andrus missed the extra point, leaving the score locked at 13.

The Rattlers closed out the quarter with a touchdown by Miles, and Arizona led 20-13 after one.

Salt Lake found some momentum in the second quarter. Five seconds into the quarter, receiver Cy Strahm hauled in a nine-yard pass from Reed. On the following drive, Sokol threw an interception on third down, and the Screaming Eagles used a field goal by Andrus to take the lead.

The two teams took turns scoring through much of the rest of the half. Arizona scored on a nine-yard run by Monroe. Salt Lake responded with a 17-yard pass from Reed to Strahm.

It appeared the Rattlers would close out the half with a one-point lead after a 21-yard field goal by kicker Sawyer Petre with 23 seconds left. However, Reed threw an interception on the goal line to Chapman. With four seconds left, wide receiver Fred Williams caught a short pass from Sokol and took it 42 yards for a score. The half ended with the Rattlers leading 38-29.

The second half began with an interception of Reed by Arizona's Brown. The Rattlers scored two plays later on a two-yard run by Monroe.

The rest of the third quarter was a seesaw battle. Salt Lake scored on a 25-yard run by Reed. The two-point conversion failed. The Rattlers responded with a 20-yard run by Monroe. Salt Lake closed out the half with a three-yard pass from Reed to wide receiver Devin Mahina. The two-point conversion attempt by Reed was picked off by Lindsey. The Rattlers took a 52-41 lead into the fourth.

The two teams alternated scoring throughout the rest of the night. For the Rattlers, Monroe rushed the ball in twice, a six-yard run and a 15-yard run, and Miles scored from on a one-yard rush. For the Screaming Eagles, Reed took the ball in twice-an eight-yard run and a one-yard run-and tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Juwan Dotson. Dotson's score left the Screaming Eagles down 73-60, a score which held in the game's final seconds.

The Rattlers return home this Saturday, April 22, to take on the conference leading Spokane Empire (4-2). The winner of Saturday's game will take first place in the Intense Conference.

This article was originally published on SI.com

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