The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 72 of 99

MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 73 key to being successful is this — you take what the defense gives you and eventually they give you the game. "That's something people have to understand playing that position." Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio had the ability to change the play at the line of scrimmage in 2017, and U-M junior transfer Shea Patterson (if he's ruled eligible and wins the job) could be put in that position as well. "In this case, what the RPO does, it allows you to call a play and yet if the defense is loading the box, you're able to spit it out of your hand and get it out to a receiver quickly," McEl- wain said in 2015. "When you look at the RPOs we called with the runs, we actually were darned near 50-50, which is where we want to be." Many of the plays only went for three to five yards, but that's still better than zero or one against a stacked box. Great receivers will also have a chance to make plays in man coverage. "[One] catch-and-run down the sideline there for the last touchdown, that was an RPO," McElwain noted of the game against UMass. "There were two [others] of those that were run plays that were called, but the defense was giving you the pass play." The RPO "is here to stay," he said, and given Harbaugh's interest in it and McElwain's experience, that could shed some insight on a hire many might question on the surface. Even Michigan defensive coordina- tor Don Brown's defenses were vic- timized by it in games with Penn State and Ohio State, some of the best evidence that it works. "It makes it tough on defenses, es- pecially those linebackers who can't be right," McElwain said. "'I'm sup- posed to be covering the pass, but oh wait, they're handing off … where do I need to be?' So I think what you're seeing is a lot more man-to-man de- fense to take the RPOs away and still be able to load the box." Michigan fans might see plenty of it this fall, regardless of who is under center, thanks to McElwain's addition. ❏ McElwain "I'm excited to get back into it and am looking forward to going there and learning and helping Michigan get better."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - March 2018