t gives me great pleasure to have theopportunity to share our concept of theGulf Coast Offense (GCO) with the AFCAmembership.Let me take just a moment to introducethe FAMU staff to you. They make the GCOeffective by toiling long arduous hours inthe office, and working very diligently withour football players on the field. They areas follows: Jimmy Joe, assistant headcoach (wide receivers); Greg Black, offen-sive line; Allan Bogan, runningbacks. Ourdefensive coaches make the GCO betterby challenging it with fundamentally soundschemes two times a week with our tuff-thud drills. Thus, I would be remiss if I didnot mention their names. They are CliftonMoore, defensive coordinator (lineback-ers); Terry Jones, defensive tackles; DerekHill, defensive backs; and Eric Hayes,defensive ends.The first criterion for developing anyfootball concept is to recruit quality student-athletes. Our priority is to recruit character-oriented young men. We communicate in-depth with their respective head coaches,counselors, parents, friends and relativesto actualize our goal of getting good play-ers into the football program who will notbeat us with unnecessary infractions onand off the field. We want players who haveset goals for themselves. They must havelong-range goals, for example, to be thePresident of the United States or tobecome a professional football player.They should set those long-range goalsand not forget them. They are worthygoals, but are highly dependent upon goodfortune, luck, and being in the right place atthe right time. If they come into true fruition,it’s icing on the cake for your career.But athletes should put more emphasison the short-range goals. Those goals,such as becoming a doctor, lawyer,t e ac h er, preacher, mechanic, carpenter,etc. These goals are not entirely based onluck or being in the right place at the righttime. They are based on hard work andperseverance. In other words, they shouldset short-range goals that are believable,achievable, feasible and conceivable.We all know that long-range goals don’tbuild a strong power base or a feeling of “ICan.” Because one must have the opportu-nity to experience success during thatinterim time on their trek to success. Long-range goals don’t provide that, short-rangegoals do. If our players don’t have thisgoal-oriented attitude once we introducethem to our program, we certainly try toinstill it into them quickly.We firmly believe that recruiting goal-ori-ented student-athletes is a good start insustaining and keeping the success of yourprogram on the high echelon level of out-standing teams year after year. It’s veryunlikely they will be the negative forces onyour team.After all is said and done, our mainfocus also should be impacting our player’sopportunity to secure a quality education.We must help them develop, grow andmature as citizens. This will allow them tomaximize their chances to graduate fromcollege and provide the impetus to becomea productive person in our society. Moneyshould be our main concern as it relates tohelping our players. Money doesn’t moti-vate me to coach better. What motivatesand fuels my personal engine? It’s when aformer player returns and says thankscoach for what you did or said because Iam well equipped for whatever endeavor Imay encounter in the work force. That usu-ally makes me well up with tears. We havethe opportunity to mold our player’s lives.Let’s not blow it!The evolution of the GCO is a compos-ite of various offensive concepts that I haveused during my 26-year tenure as a headfootball coach. It is simply a derivative ofthe many spread formations coupled with afew innovative schemes that our staff hasdeveloped through trial and error. I namedit the Gulf Coast Offense because ourUniversity is located in Tallahassee, Floridanear the Gulf of Mexico. I decided emphat-ically to be committed to the spread lookwhen my staff and I accepted the job atFAMU in January 1994. There are a pletho-ra of skilled players in Florida. The fourDivision I-Aprograms in the state cannotsign all of the great ones. So, FAMU is ableto recruit quality skill players, such as widereceivers and quarterbacks, which is whatthe GCO is predicated upon. The talentedpool of players is readily available for ourtype offense.The GCO features a no-huddle whileusing the two-minute speed (fast break)drill for the entire game. Of course, that isnot so revolutionary, but, what we thinkmakes our offense special is that the quar-terback calls his own plays and the headcoach sits in the press box during thegame.Permitting the quarterback to call hisown plays, provides for plays to be called in
• • • •Billy JoeHead CoachFlorida A&M UniversityTallahassee, Fla.
The Gulf Coast OffenseVersus Coverages