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Learning the West Coast Offense: Part 2


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So, I created a thread on this previously. Thanks to some of this forums posters (Lombardi's Kid Brother, Oldskool, Major Harris, BigRedskinDaddy and Oldfan) that thread took off into an incredible discussion. However, we only scratched the surface of the base West Coast Offense.

First, it should be noted that this is not the exact offense Coach Zorn runs, but it's the basic premise of it. Remember, this offense is generally used as a ball control offense. The pass is used to set up the pass AND the run. The Redskin power running game ADDS to the effectiveness of the WCO, in my opinion. However, it hasn't quite taken hold yet.

For the protection scheme, there are two basic calls. King and Queen.

The King call is for the strong side of the line of scrimmage. So, in a basic Pro Formation where there is a Left Tackle, Left Guard, Center, Right Guard, Right Tackle and a Tight End to the right side, your strong side would be the right (to the offense, opposite strength call if you were looking at the offense from a defense's perspective, but keep your POV from the offensive side :))

The King call free releases the back to the strong side to run immediately into his route. In an I Form, the coach can release whatever back he pleases free. In our offense, if I were Coach Zorn and I had Portis in the backfield, I know I could free release him into a route or leave him in to check blitz first due to his blocking ability.

The backside back checks release. Meaning he looks for blitz first, then delay releases into a route. Remember, the WCO is designed to have guys running short, intermediate and deep routes, as well as utilizing delay routes. You want to flood the undercoverage, so in theory (but not always in reality) the delayed back should be open.

The Queen call is pretty much the same, with the difference being that the backside back releases straight into his route, and the strongside back checks blitz before releasing.

To help imagine the concept, imagine the backs in a split back formation rather than the I, it will help you visualize it much better.

The call names are different for each Coach.

Alot of WCO like to outformation teams, meaning they use a wide array of formations to keep defenses off balance. To name a few, but not all, you have:

Split Right (Split backs, Y and Z go to call side, X to backside)

Split Left

I Right (I formation, Y and Z go to call side, X backside)

I Left

Near Right (Fullback offsets NEAR the Y (TE), so in Near Right, he offsets behind the Right Guard)

Near Left (Offsets behind Left Guard)

Far Right(Fullback offsets FAR from the Y, so he offsets backside, soi Far Right, he's offset behind the LEFT Guard.)

Far Left (Offsets behind Right Guard)

Strong Right (HB lines up to the Strong side NEXT to the FB)

Strong Left

Weak Right (HB lines up to the Weak side NEXT to the FB)

Then you have your Trey formations and Trips formations.

Trips Right is three receivers lined up to the LEFT side. The Y goes strong side.

Trips Left is the opposite.

Trey Right is 2 receivers to the CALL side (so the right) and the Y also goes call side.

Trey Left is the opposite.

There are also different alignment calls which really make for many different formations. Flex means the receivers are further out, Close means the receivers are closer to the offense line.

Then there are your basic Twins formations. Twins Right means the TE goes to the right, Twin receivers to the left. In my offenses, when I call Twins Rt, that's the side the receivers line up on. In most WCO, whichever side is called is generally where the TE (Y) lines up. I do it the opposite. Neither is right or wrong, it's based on preference. The same can be said with the Trips and Trey formations, different people run them differently. Some people's Trip formations have no TEs and instead feature 4 receivers on the field.

If you have any questions, I'll see what I can do. I wanted to get a little bit more in depth this time, so some of the language may be... uhm... difficult. If someone that knew alot about medical conditions started talking to me in medical jargon I'd be lost, same with Law, or computers, or anything not related to football. So feel free to ask, I'll do the best I can. :)

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