Adjusting the “Dump” RPO vs. Man Coverages

Here at Trinity Valley Community College, we are an RPO based team with our base run play being the inside zone. We have quick passes tagged off of virtually every run play that we can call. The dump pass concept, which is an RPO play on the classic pop pass, is a tag that we had great success with when it was paired with our inside zone. 

One of the best aspects of this concept is its versatility. We basically have the ability to run this off of any run play or anytime there is an uncovered tight end, running back, or wide receiver. The base concept is designed to be run to a three-receiver side, but can be run any time you have an uncovered man. Over the last two years, we have averaged 15 yds. per pass and 6 yds. per run on plays that include the dump concept.

As I mentioned, normally we call inside zone and tag the dump concept for the #3 eligible player on the backside. We always have our tackles scoop or sift to the linebackers. We want the LBs to fill their gaps with conviction. Here are the assignments of the receivers in the play:

#1 Receiver (Dump Side): Block head up to first threat. 

#2 Receiver (Dump Side): Runs a crawfish route. For us, that is where the receiver takes one step towards the line of scrimmage and then back pedals to the sideline.

#3 Receiver (Dump Side): Runs the dump route. The dump route is first and foremost a hot route. He will outside release away from the inside linebacker. If he is uncovered, he will slow down in the hot window while staying outside and away from the near safety. If the play side safety is directly over the top of the dump route and the backside safety is out of the picture, will run turn the dump into a bender at 8-10 yds. The dump route is best executed when players understand the coverage and how to run to grass. 

#1 Receiver (Zone Side/Away from the Dump): Runs a three-step now route (also called a hitch). 

QB Progression

When we first put in the dump concept, it was to attack teams that played safeties down for the run and left open seams in the secondary. It also allowed us to attack the hot area in 3x1 spread set. The pre-snap read for the QB starts with this concept in mind. His progression is as follows:

  • The QB will identify if the play side safety is covering the dump. If he isn’t, then he will peak at the back-side safety. If the back-side safety’s eyes are away from the dump or he is outside the hash, the QB’s eyes will go to the dump side linebacker post snap. If the linebacker is a run player, he will throw the dump. And if he plays the pass he will hand it off. 
  • If the QB pulls the ball to throw and the outside linebacker (flat area defender) covers the dump route, we have him throw the crawfish. If there is any doubt about the pre-snap throw, the QB is taught to run zone read. 


If we get man coverage, the dump will beat man coverage with outside release and speed. If we play a team that kicks both safeties to the three-man surface side, the quarterback will give the single side receiver a 7-step post or slant via audible or signal. Also, we will tag dump to any running back or tight end in the backfield vs. man coverage or no safety looks. 

Here are a few of our most common adjustments:

Click on the videos below for examples of the Dump RPO and the Post versions.

Dump is a simple concept that can be highly effective versus no safety, one safety or two-high safety looks. When we first implemented dump, it was a set hot concept, but it has grown into a play that can beat any coverage by running the bender or attacking man coverage. The more comfortable our players have become, the more we have used this in all kinds of situations on the field. We believe in creating matchups, and this play is perfect for creating the matchups we want for the number three receiver.

Meet Coach Patterson 

Coach Patterson is the head coach at Northeast Oklahoma A&M. Prior to that, he served as the OC at Trinity Valley Community College. In Coach Patterson’s three years at TVCC, he has helped lead their team to win 5 Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) championships (3 Conference, 2 Conference Playoffs) and 2 Heart of Texas (HOT) Bowl Game championships. His offense broke the all-time yards per game record at all levels of football with 656.1 ypg. in 2015. They also set NJCAA records for total offense (7,778 in 2014), yards per game (656.1 in 2015), and total plays in a season (938 in 2014). In 23 of the 35 games he coached at TVCC, the Cardinal offense has scored over 50 points including thirteen 60 point games and eight 70 point games. TVCC’s overall record during Coach Patterson’s tenure as offensive coordinator is 29-5 with averages of 54 points per game and 604 yards per game averages. During this time, he has had five QBs sign Division 1 scholarships with two of these players winning SWJCFC Player of The Year awards. One of these players was rated by in 2015 as the #1 Dual-Threat QB in the country (Jérod Evans). Prior to his time at TVCC, Coach Patterson spent 6 seasons as the OC at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. While there, his offense broke 28 individual and 17 team passing records and the team won four Lone Star Conference (LSC) co-championships. With 12 overall years of NCAA Division II and NJCAA offensive coaching experience (9 as the offensive coordinator), Patterson has coached teams to a total of 98 wins, including three 10+ Win seasons.

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X&O Labs 2017 Football Trends