Access throws, packaged plays, run-pass options / aka RPO’s… They’re all the same thing give or take and they’re the current hot topic of Glazier Clinics, message boards, bloggers, etc in the world of football.
Some form of them has been in college football for years. Guys were putting quick game routes like slants and hitches to the backside of their runs for quite some time. However, the idea of reading a defender post-snap and running it like a true option really wasn’t in play until Rich Rodriguez was up at Michigan. While his version was really just a triple option with a slot running a bubble as a “pitchman,” it was still an early RPO.
You can see a form of it below, the video should start around 5:59. You can see the zone run but watch the bottom of your screen, the WR runs a bubble and Rich Rod starts emphasizing that into a triple option as his time at UM goes on.
Today, you think RPO in 10 personnel, a 2×2 look perhaps, with a running play (inside zone read is common) that’s packaged with (for example) a slant/bubble to one side and a hitch and sit down to the other. The QB goes through his pre-snap checks, and then post-snap he will read his key defender and either give, pull, or pass depending on the read.
Shot one- When our QB sees the CB attacking bubble too quickly over the course of a drive, he can check to vert and attack the CB post-snap if he sees him bite again.
Shot two- the defense puts 3 over 2 so the box has 7, but our QB knows they weren’t playing sound football and really he could eliminate the read from his count and play against 6.
Shot three- the QB sees the OLB play the bubble, and he watches the DE crash down on the run. Our FB is able to pin the DE and the QB can squirt out and pick up a good gain on the ground. Keep in mind, in all three of these clips this is the same play working three different ways.