Last year during the off-season I wrote a series of posts titled "Football University", where I talked about various aspects of football X's and O's and explained them in as much detail as I could. Here are some of the topics I covered last year, with some excerpts from those articles:
Other than the kicker the most important players on the field might be the "gunners". These are the two players who are lined up on each side of the field closest to the edge. Their job is to run down the field as fast as they can and force the returner to move to the inside of the field where the most traffic is. They are also the ones responsible for downing the ball before it goes into the endzone. Gunners are generally your 2nd and 3rd string DBs or WRs because these players have the best hands and are the fastest on the team.
The cover 4 defense is basically the same thing as a prevent defense and is hardly ever used. It's gotten such a bad name that coaches don't want to admit that they've used it ("We weren't in a prevent" ranks right up there with "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" in the book of lies.)
Join me after the jump for some more examples.
When talking about the West Coast Offense there are a couple of things that need to get sorted out right away. We first need to figure out which WCO we're talking about, and then we need to understand the history of the West Coast Offense and how it developed over the years. The West Coast Offense is brilliant in it's simplicity, but at the same time it's that very simplicity that makes it so easy to adapt and change.
I like to think of the West Coast Offense as a grown up version of sandlot football. As a kid playing football you wouldn't run a set play, instead you'd tell your receivers what routes to run and then throw to the open guy. That's essentially what the West Coast Offense is. Because it's that simple it's also very easy to adapt and change to just about any circumstances.
Now we get to dive into the nitty gritty of the the West Coast Offense. We're going to be using Bill Walsh's playbook from 1985, which I've uploaded if you want to take a look at it yourself. It's 356 pages long and packed full of information. It's also hard to read at points because it's been copied so much that some of the letters are faded and there are some weird page angles that cut off some of the details. It's still a fascinating document. I also have Holmgren's 49er offense from 1991, Cowboys' 1992 offense (which is rather amusing since it appears to be written in a loose leaf notebook) and the Rams' 2000 offense, all of which use variations of the West Coast Offense.
You can find the rest of the posts here.
So now that you have an idea of the type of posts these are I'd like to ask for suggestions for more Football University topics (probably about one a week, maybe one every other week). What topics would you like to learn more about? What offensive or defensive philosophies would you like to explore? Are there any historical ideas or themes you'd like to see explored?
Leave your suggestions in the comments and I'll try to address as many of them as I can.