Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — West Coast Offense
With Michigan’s offense struggling at times, OK majority of the time, I thought this would be a great time to review the West Coast Offense. I am going to focus on quarterback play and how Devin grades in the system. Also will take closer look at protection. This based on clinic notes from Coach Walsh with some back up from others of the top West Coast Offense guys. Names like Dennis Green, Mike Sherman, Andy Reid, Norman Chow, and Jim Harbaugh.
#1. All but one talked about using pass to control the game. Only Jim Harbaugh inverts and is run first. All want to protect the defense and keep them off the field. Difference is how they achieve the goal.
#2. Quarterback is key to the offense. Quarterback does not have to be tall, Coach Walsh says as long as quarterback can see over the center he is tall enough. So Devin definitely qualifies.
Most important thing quarterback does is read coverage. Number high/safeties is a must. What quarterback is looking for is weakness, or soft spot in the coverage. Basically taking what defenses gives them. This is an area where Devin needs to improve. Too often throws to strength of defense instead of taking what is there.
Most passing plays should be of five and seven steps. Three steps is used only when defenses makes a mistake, does not adjust properly. You are not trying for big play in three step drop, just take what defense gives. This is an area I blame the coaches on. Will go into more details later.Arm strength is a plus, but not a necessity. Devin is good here, he has plenty of arm.
Throwing on time is more important than arm strength. Holding ball too long or throwing too early will cause problems, turnover’s. This is where Devin has to get better. If he improves here it will be huge help to everyone, but mostly Devin.
Quarterback only audibles only when ABSOLUTELY necessary. Necessary was in big bright red letters, Audibling gives defense edge by giving them time to adjust and fix mistakes. Quarterback should beat blitzes with reads and throwing on time. I had forgotten this one. Lots of complaints about lack of audibles. This is why.
One of the keys to the offense is using motion and shifts to force defenses to adjust. This gives defenses a chance to make a mistake for the offense to exploit. I remember yelling at the screen and throwing my remote because Michigan was easy to defend. Not because of play calling, but because defenses were never put into bad situations and forced to adjust on the fly. (IMO) this has to change if Michigan is going to run the West Coast Offense.
Instead of using standard Big on Big protection West Coast uses a slide Protection scheme. Rules depend on how many blockers, one, two, or 0 backs. If the tight end is included. Slide is also sometimes called turn back. Basic tenet is you slide protection to the (Will) linebacker and block the opposite edge with the running back. You can slide to strength if needed. That is why Fitz and crew ended up on defensive ends or edge blitzes. In theory this “OK” because the quarterback should read the blitz or mismatch upfront and hit the “hot route” in the soft or dead spot in the coverage.If you remember the Ohio State 2 point conversion. This is exactly what happened. Michigan slide protection to the tight end/(Will) linebacker side. Ohio State blitzed that side and with running back blocking the edge opposite there was no one to pick up the blitzer. When the Ohio State defensive back jumped Gallon the play blew up.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — CoachBT
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