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Five Principles of the West Coast Offense

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For those of you who don't know, I'm entering my fourth year as a high school football coach after an achilles injury ended my hopes of walking on at a D3 college to play outside linebacker/safety.

I'm currently an offensive coordinator at the modified level, but I've called the plays for varsity and jv in passing tournaments and I'm an offensive assistant on varsity.

I have been studying the West Coast Offense extensively. I want to use it in my playbook, I've always been a fan of it. By pure coincedence, the Redskins are too using a West Coast system now.

I've seen so many people that are very misinformed on the west coast offense.

There are Five MAJOR principles to the West Coast Offense.

Protecting the Quarterback:

The offensive line must know their assignments and be aware of the blitz. Oftentimes, the WCO utilizes a 5 receiver attack, meaning you'll only see five guys blocking plenty. If the defense sends more guys than you have available to block, the quarterback and receiver must both be able to hot route successfully.

Timing the Pass:

Route depth must time out with the drop of the quarterback. The WCO is a timing offense. If the receiver comes into his break too early, the defense is still probably in position to make a play. If the QB holds on to the ball too long or drops too slowly, he screws the timing up.

Using Multiple Receivers:

The WCO utilizes a primary and secondary receiver to flood an area and in the case of a zone, make the defender pick a receiver to cover, or in the case of man defense one receiver clears the other.

The backs are often used to distract the undercoverage (the backers or up safeties). If the backs catch enough passes, the backers will creep up on them and try to jump a route, freeing up your other options.

Reading the Coverage:

Quarterbacks reads are generally fairly simple. The West Coast Offense purposely keeps reads simpler in order to give the QB an advantage and stop them from being tentative when throwing the football. They have a variety of reads that I won't get in to for the sake of keeping things fairly simple :)

Practicing the Fundamentals:

It's all well and good if you know all the principles, but if you aren't practicing all of them and working on timing with your receivers, it means nothing. Practice, practice, practice.

I admit, although I have been studying, I don't know everything about the west coast offense, but I do know enough to know that alot of the stuff people here assume it to be is false. But that's okay, not everyone is a complete loser like myself :)

Hope this helps out a little with some of you. If you have something to add or want to discuss anything, feel free. :)

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