11 personnel groupings have been the most popular personnel grouping across the football landscape for the last several years as this structure provides multiple options for an offensive coordinator at the line of scrimmage.


11 personnel groupings (one back/one tight end) have been the most popular personnel grouping across the football landscape for the last several years and they’re clearly here to stay. This fall, I sat in the offensive film room at the University of Mississippi reviewing other SEC offenses and it was difficult to see a system that was not using some form of this grouping. In fact, many teams—including Texas A&M, Alabama and, yes, even LSU—have moved wholesale into channeling their offense through this grouping. I can’t argue with their reasoning. The 11 personnel structure provides the best of both worlds for an offensive coordinator: a downfield passing game with four potential speed receivers as well as a multiple-run game at the line of scrimmage.

So it only makes sense for coaches to devise their RPO (run/pass option) menu this offseason around this popular personnel grouping. And while there are almost too many options for possible RPO schemes, I wanted to present my research on what I found to be the top 11 personnel RPOs from last season. I’ve segmented my research into the following categories:

  • Zone based RPOs
  • Gap based RPOs
  • Man Based RPOs

Tight Zone-Based RPOs

The tight zone run scheme is synonymous with 11 personnel groupings. Coaches are finding ways to couple their split zone or insert zone runs with RPOs that manipulate extra run fitters. One of the more productive RPO concepts off split zone action is the glance route RPO used to affect two high defenses. The quarterback will read the near safety. If the safety triggers downhill in the run game, the QB will pull the ball and throw the glance (which is a five-step post) behind him. The below clip from Arkansas State University best illustrates this:


Wide Zone-Based RPOs

Wide or outside zone run concepts place a tremendous amount of stress on perimeter defenders who are asked to force the run game back to defensive pursuit. When these outside zone schemes are coupled with RPO’s, those force defenders get sucked up in the run game, allowing big plays to happen behind them. In the clip below, the University of Texas shows outside run action with a pulling guard and releases the back on the wheel route. By the time the front side safety recognizes the play, it’s a momentous gain for the offense.


Gap-Based RPOs

Any time an offense can get a puller involved in the run action, it’s going to affect defenses. Meshing route progressions with a gap scheme like power can almost guarantee third-level defenders like safeties to trigger early, which allows receivers to get behind them. In the clip below, Albion College (Mich.) runs a power concept, getting the free safety downhill. The slot receiver runs a vertical right behind him for a big gain.


Man-Based RPOs

Wing T offenses have been utilizing the buck sweep concept for years because of the athleticism of pulling guard to block on the perimeter. Combining routes off the buck sweep action gets second level defenders to fly downhill, opening up passing lanes behind them. In this clip, Mankato East High School (Minn.) uses a buck sweep concept and reads the backside inside linebacker. When the linebacker starts to flow downhill, the quarterback pulls the ball and hits the slant directly behind him.



Since this 11 personnel grouping continues to be an area of interest for coaches this offseason, we’ve decided to segment our entire database of film into offensive concepts that fit exclusively into the 11/20 personnel groupings. These concepts can be found in the X&O Labs Film Room, a searchable database with over 1,600 concepts and drills in a viewable Hudl format. Go here for more information on the film room.