View Full Version : What is the West Coast Offense you may ask?

04-02-2006, 01:15 AM
Since there is talk about going to the WCO, I looked around to learn more myself. I thought I would pass some along to you:

www.westcoastoffense.com (http://users2.ev1.net/%7Ejamrtm/)

The West Coast Offense is used by many successfully football teams today. For example, the Super Bowl Champions, Denver Broncos and the previous year's Super Bowl Champions, Green Bay Packers. Can this offensive system be implemented and effective on the high school level? YES! The material organized and presented here demonstrates the philosophy of the West Coast Offense and actual play schematics that can be implemented and used on the high school level. In fact, this web site is designed for the coach to get a basic knowledge of the philosophy and play schematics of the West Coast Offense.

The purpose of this web site is to provide a concise and organized overview of the West Coast Offense. Included in this site will be history, philosophy, basic offensive organization, base play schematics, and frequent updates. The material presented here is not original material written by the web site authors. The material here is from a variety of references. Our goal is to present this material in a concise, user-friendly manner to football coaches through out the U.S. in order to help coaches improve their respective teams.

The term 'West Coast Offense' has a two-fold meaning:

1. it describes an ball control offensive system that uses the timed, short passing game AND
2. it also describes the entire offensive structure from play schematics, preparation, installation, implementation, game planning, execution, and attention to every detail of this offensive system.
The prime example of this definition is of course, the San Francisco 49ers. Bill Walsh the offensive and organizational mastermind meshed this two part definition together into the most proficient and prolific offense of the modern football era.
Bill Walsh has stated the following, The term 'West Coast Offense' "... is an umbrella term for precision-timed passing, variable formations, and the exploitation of each player's skills."

In 'Finding A Winning Edge', Coach Walsh has also said, " The 'West Coast Offense' still amounts to nothing more than the total attention to detail and an appreciation for every facet of offensive football and refinement of those things that are needed to provide an environment that allows people to perform at maximum levels of self-actualization."

Therefore, Bill Walsh's West Coast Offense is not just a split back, short pass throwing offense, it's much more....

Short pass plays replace the running game to control the ball.
Bill Walsh originated with the San Francisco 49ers.
Long process for QB to pick-up all the reads and adjustments.
Release all five receivers into the pattern.
QB has progression read up to five receivers.
Take what the defensive gives you.
Make the defense adjust to you.

The West Coast Offense features short pass plays to replace the running game while still controlling the ball. The quarterback takes a three or five-step drop, reads the defense and has his progression of receivers to look to. Ideally, all five receivers will release in the pattern giving the QB plenty of passing options.


The 49er West Coast offense relies on short passes turning into big plays with the ability of the skill players. Steve Young has the patience to continue to throw the short pass if that is what the defense is giving him. Eventually, the big play will come either with a long pass or a short pass with a missed tackle resulting in a touchdown.


Arizona's West Coast offense uses the theory of reading the progression from deepest to shortest. The Cardinals flood one side of the field and let QB Plummer read the defense from deepest to shortest. If the big play is there, Plummer will take it. If not, Plummer continues down the ladder until a receiver comes open. Plummer also has a knack for creating things on his own when the play breaks down.


Laying out the Game Plan[b]

The layout of a game plan is somewhat dependent upon the personal learning style of the head coach. Personal preference and sight lines play a part in the format for the development of the game plan. All game plans share several basic functional features, including:

1. A game plan is the result of the combined thoughts of the coaching staff.
2. A game plan is an interactive tool for both players and coaches.
3. A game plan must be flexible to facilitate minor strategy adjustments.
4. A game plan facilitates the breaking of tendencies without straying from the plan.
5. A game plan provides for alternative strategies that allow the coordinator to stay within the scheme.
6. A game plan addresses certain special situations and allows for creativity within the scheme.
7. A game plan provides for a situational response.
8. A game plan allows for a counter to a specific strategy of the opposition.
9. A game plan allows for specific strategies that consider field position.
Many formats exist, but regardless of the format used the offensive game plan should address a number of factors including a PRACTICED strategy for dealing with the situational, contingency, and reactive aspects of the offensive package.
As a general rule, coaches place pertinent information concerning their game plan on either a one or two page chart which they carry with them during a game in order to have immediate access to the information. Notice the two page sample game plan call sheet:

On the front page:

· Base runs and passes - a listing of base running plays and passes grouped by type, personnel and/or formation.
· 3RD Down - from the OPEN FIELD, a package tailored to the following down and distance situations: 3RD and short (2-4yds), 3RD and medium (5-7yds), and 3RD and long (8-11yds). Also, included is a 3RD down package versus nickel blitz and nickel zone defenses.

· Play action passes - a list of play action and action passes.

· Red Zone - plays that are normally run once a team reaches the +20 yard line.

· Goal line and two point play - a list of available goal line and two point plays.

· Short yardage - details available plays to use in short yardage situations, including down and distances of 3RD and 1 and 4TH and 1 yard or less.

On the back page:
· Attacking fronts - lists plays to use versus a specified defensive front.
· Base blitz - outline run plays and pass plays with audible capability that are designed for unexpected blitz situations.
· Two minute and Four minute offense - details targeted plays from two minute and four minute offense package.
· Last 4 Plays - lists the last 4 plays of a half or game
· Best Player - lists the plays which highlight the teams best offensive player and includes the specific situational criteria to which the plays are applied.
· Base coverages - categorizes the plays with regard to type, personnel, and formation versus the basic coverages available to the defense.
· Attacking coverages - lists the plays designed to exploit a particular coverage.
· Backed up - targets plays which are to be used when the offense is backed up against their own goal line.
· Must call - details a specific list of plays which are expected to produce big results against a particular defensive scheme.
· Reminders - lists personal notes with regard to opponent's tendencies, personnel, etc.
· Nickel runs- best running plays versus a defense having 6 defenders in the box.
· Screens and Specials - a list of available screens and special plays.
· Second half considerations - possible opening second half plays.

Some more WCO plays (http://users2.ev1.net/~jamrtm/Playbooklist.htm)

04-02-2006, 01:18 AM
isnt that the type of offense vikes4lyfe plays WR in ? j/k lol

thanks for the effort with the info, very insightful.

04-02-2006, 03:06 AM
I dont know if wikipedia is 100% accurate, but it has some interesting links with it...


04-02-2006, 03:35 AM
oWikipedia is not really 100% accurate

04-02-2006, 03:46 AM
I had heard years ago that the roots of the WEST COAST OFFENSE was developed by the Vikings, but the 49ers ran with it and made it their own by winning Super Bowls with it.

I think Wikipedia is 100% correct.

04-02-2006, 04:18 AM
jerry burns started it if i'm not mistaken

04-02-2006, 04:25 AM
1. it describes an ball control offensive system that uses the timed, short passing game AND
2. it also describes the entire offensive structure from play schematics, preparation, installation, implementation, game planning, execution, and attention to every detail of this offensive system.

Two of the quick things that jumped out at me right at the beginning. Ball control which not only means short passes but a good running game and we drafted for that.
Also players which have a high learning curve to learn the details of the offense. Shows why we got rid of a few players that we may have kept upder the former coaching staff.
But then they were so dumb they couldn't coach the WCO!

04-02-2006, 11:43 AM
As long as we win, I wont care what we do. Though I feel we should run with that expensive o line we have...