Oklahoma has had great success with its shallow screen RPO. It is a simple play, and if your QB is a skillful runner, it could be great for your offense. It works in all down and distance situations.
The above play is run out of a 2 x 2 set. The #2 receiver on the left runs a shallow cross route right through the feet of the defensive linemen. As he clears the box area, this receiver must adjust his path so that he is at or behind the LOS when he receives the ball. By doing so, the receivers on that side of the field can BLOCK DOWNFIELD! The LBs may not carry him across because of his shallow depth or if the defense is in man and a DB has him, the shallow receiver may outrun the defender or get picked off. If in zone, the zone defenders generally do not deal with a shallow crossing receiver. If the ball is thrown to him, they usually will break up on him after the throw. They figure they can limit the gain by tackling him before he turns up. But because the receivers can now block down field, this becomes difficult to do.
The play is also best when the shallow receiver has speed. He may need to outrun the man coverage. If he does catch the ball, it gives him an opportunity to catch the ball on the run and turn it into a big play. This is a great chance to get the ball to one of your best athletes.
If the shallow receiver is not open (DB running step for step with him or zone defender wasn’t blocked or beat the block and has outside leverage on the shallow cross), the QB will pull the ball down and run the QB draw.
The offensive line will pass block the 4 or 5 defenders at the LOS. The RB in the backfield will release around the box and block the first thing he sees in the alley. The RB should just try and run over the LB. This is often an easy block in that the defender thinks the RB is running a route and does not expect him to just run over him. Again, he can do so because the ball is being thrown behind the LOS.
If you run shallow crosses, this could be a concept that really aids your shallow series. Here are some clips of Oklahoma’s shallow screen.