Bmonkey wrote:i've always wondered what West Coast offense technically meant. heard it many times.. i'm gathering it's run first, throw second?
Just the opposite: It means throw short passes, open up the defense, and run into the spaces that are created.
Here's Wikipedia's entry on West Coast Offense:
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In American football, the term "West Coast Offense" is an offensive strategic system of play.
The actual term "West Coast Offense" is derived from a 1993 Bernie Kosar quote, which was publicized by Sports Illustrated writer Paul Zimmerman, aka "Dr. Z". It meant the offense popularized by two west coast teams (the Chargers and Raiders), not the 1980s-era 49ers attack. A reporter mistakenly grouped these and the name stuck in association with the offense of Bill Walsh. Walsh formulated what has become most widely known as the West Coast Offense during his tenure as assistant coach for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1968-75 while working primarily with All-Pro quarterback Ken Anderson and under the tutelage of mentor Paul Brown. From there, Walsh took it to the San Francisco 49ers, where it was implemented with great effectiveness by Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. The majority of casual football fans perceive this version to be the "West Coast Offense".
Kosar originally used the term to describe the offense formalized by Sid Gillman with the AFL Chargers in the 1960s and Don Coryell with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers in the 1970s and 1980s. Al Davis, an assistant under Gillman, also carried his version to the Oakland Raiders. Zimmerman contends that this version is the "true" West Coast Offense, in its original context.
The popular term "West Coast Offense" as a general concept is more of a philosophy and an approach to the game than it is a set of plays or formations. "Traditional" offensive thinking argues that a team must establish their running game first, which will draw the defense in and open up vertical passing lanes downfield (passing lanes that run perpendicular to the line of scrimmage). Walsh's "West Coast Offense", on the contrary, stipulates that a defense must first be stretched with a short, horizontal passing attack that features sharp, precisely-run pass patterns by the receivers and quick, 3-step and 5-step drops by the quarterback. This 'stretching' will then open up running lanes for the backs to exploit. This will, in theory, make the offense's play calling unpredictable, which makes a defense play 'honest' because most down and distance situations can be attacked with the pass or run in Walsh's "West Coast Offense". Beyond this basic principle of passing to set up the run (not vice versa), there are few rules that govern Walsh's WCO. Originally the offense used two split backs, giving it an uneven alignment in which five players aligned to one side of the ball and four players aligned on the other side (with the quarterback and center directly behind the ball). Although Walsh-influenced WCO teams now commonly use formations with more or fewer than two backs, the offense's unevenness is still reflected in its pass protection philosophy and continues to distinguish it from single back passing offenses. Throughout the years, coaches have added to, adjusted, modified, simplified, and enhanced Bill Walsh's original adaptation of the Paul Brown offense. Formations and plays vary greatly, as does play calling.
The original Gillman-inspired West Coast Offense uses some of the same principles (pass to establish the run, quarterback throws to timed spots), but offensive formations are generally less complicated with more wideouts, the timed spots are usually farther downfield than in the Walsh-style offense, and the system requires a greater reliance on traditional pocket passing.
At the college level, Walsh's "West Coast Offense" was advanced largely by Walsh while at Stanford, by coaches LaVell Edwards and Norm Chow while at Brigham Young University, Sylvester Croom currently at Mississippi State University and Tyrone Willingham currently at the University of Washington.