5 Crazy Philosophies from NCAA ’13 which would be highly successful in real College Football
You’ve heard announcers say it on a regular basis trying to be really funny, but often falling flat on their faces. It is the words, “Those are video game stats!”. Perfect examples are evident every week where a player just unleashes hell upon his opponent. One thing you don’t often hear is, “That was a video game game!”. There are marquee examples which subsist throughout history of an “EA Sports Game”. Appalachian State toppling Michigan in 2006, James Madison over Virginia Tech last year, and UL Monroe defeating Arkansas last night are those types of games.
Games where if you simulated it 1,000 times, they result would never occur that happened in real life; however, if you played it once as the underdog and are functioning, you’d probably win. So we ask, if the tactics used in NCAA ’13 supply upsets out the ass, why not in real life?
#5 Run slant routes day and night:
When playing NCAA ’13 football, there is no route which supplies a higher success route than a slant route. My go to play on third and five? I-Form Twins, slants. Hot route your TE to a quick out and you’re all but guaranteed a first and ten. Ask Iowa Quarterback Ricky Stanzi about running the slant route in short yardage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p9xT-7-UkU…even better, ask Michigan State’s corners about defending the slant route in that short yardage. Plus, the risk reward for the slant route is incredulous. If a team is playing man-to-man and you beat your guy on a slant (which is probably upwards of 75% of the time) and the QB doesn’t absolutely muff the throw, you could be seeing six. Based upon the theory that a receiver can beat a guy on a quick slant 75% of the time, the average college Quarterback can throw about 55% of his passes completely, and the yardage gained on the above; you would be gaining roughly 12 yards every 2.35 plays. This guarantees you a first down every series. Welcome to my house.
#4 Constantly play zone defense:
When playing defense, most people immediately jump to the conclusion of playing “Cover 2 man” in NCAA ’13. While this would seem to be the proper play, even in NCAA ’13, the zone defense would be the hardest defense to play against (theoretically).
The reason is that zone defense involves a read by more than just the quarterback and the other player having to make the read is often times not the sharpest tool in the shed. You see, the great thing about receivers (both in video games and real life) is they never question what they’re supposed to do on a given pass play because the coach will specifically tell them what they’re supposed to do. This is called a route. A receiver is highly successful when all he has to do is get the guy in-front of him playing man-to-man. When he runs by the defender and sees another guy waiting to guard him; however, he becomes far less capable.
When running against the zone, both the receiver and quarterback must find the “gap” and usually at nearly the exact same time or else that window closes. In NCAA ’13, people curse the zone after Matt Barkley has thrown his fourth pick of the first half. They run my little slant trick, but the goddamn linebacker keeps jumping in front and coming down with the ball! In real life, the quarterbacks are more rushed and more mistake prone with throws…so where’s the catch?
#3 Throw the ball deep every first down:
For many teams, first down is predictably a running play. While I have nothing against the running game, it doesn’t offer the same homerun capabilities as the passing game. The great thing about first down is that there are three more downs to work with if you fail to gain any yardage.
This idea comes with the same philosophy as running slants all day: the risk-reward. While there is a more ample chance the pass will be incomplete, there is also a greater chance the gain for be for uber yardage. Also, there may be even less of a chance for an interception on a deep ball than a slant because a slant is such a precise throw and if the quarterback fucks it up there are probably six or seven ball hungry defensive players with a chance to pick it. On the deep ball, it is either one v. one or one v. two. More often than not, your receiver is taller than both men guarding him if there are two….let’s call this the Denard Robinson theory http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmWprlAt1QA. While I concede this play was not made on first and ten, I rebuttal with the fact that Denard throw the ball in the general direction of a receiver who is double teamed and somehow he gets credited for a touchdown pass for that effort.
The reward for completing a pass on first is so incredibly high compared to the risk involved. Worst case scenario is the defense gets the ball a minimum of 40 yards down field. It’s like a bad punt. It’s better than using first down as a running play which for the average back would be somewhere in the vicinity of 3-5 yards.
#2 Use the same few play over and over again:
How often does one honestly vary his play calling in NCAA ’13? “No, I think I’ll run four verticals from trips instead of 5-wide this play”. You’re brazen. Honestly there are probably about ten plays necessary to put together a great offense and that may be a high estimate. Having five plays from two packages would probably get the job done. An inside running play, an outside running play, and three different pass plays (one of course being slants!) would be quite efficient and still have to keep a defensive coordinator guessing.
#1 Going for every (reasonable) fourth down:
It seems I’m preaching the pass extensively in this article, but #1 is the running game’s chance to shine. Remember the stat I said earlier about an average running back? The average back gains about 4 yards a carry. Now, if you have a fourth and three, what are the odds your current college coach is going for it? Let’s say it’s the first quarter and you’re on your own 35. I would guess there is a 0% chance. Ask UL Monroe’s coach Todd Berry if he is. Then ask him if he beat Arkansas on Saturday. Berry utilized the idea of not punting on easily convertible 4th downs to beat the Hogs.
Just imagine that it’s fourth and 1 from the 34 yard line because of the new touchback rule on kickoffs. If you punt, what are the odds the opposing team gets the ball? Probably about 99%. Now, what are the odds the other team gets the ball if you run a dive play straight up the middle? If you use a hard count and attempt to fluster the defense, you might even get an encroachment call or at least will keep them guessing on the cadence and allow your big boys up front to have the trench advantage. So, we’ll be (in my eyes) generous and say you convert this 4th and 1 play 75% of the time. The average college football team scores on 42.37% of drives (based on data from BleacherReport) and a team gets roughly 10 possessions a game; therefore, a team scores about 4 times a game (touchdowns and field goals). That same team will punt on about four of those possessions (the other 2 include turnovers and missed field goals). If one was to keep the ball even just 50% of the time when he punts, his team would score an entire touchdown (or field goal) a game.
It goes without saying that a team scores far less when the other team has the ball. Many people call football a game of field position, but it really isn’t. No matter how bad your field position, you have a better chance of scoring when you have the ball than the other team does. So if you would retain possession on three drives where you normally would not, than why not go for it on 4th and short? ESPN did some research of which I don’t have the tools and found teams who would go for it on reasonable fourth downs would gain an additional victory each season. In college where there are more possessions and more yards gained per play, it may mean two more victories. For UL Monroe, their additional victory came at the hands of Arkansas and it swept the globe…maybe there is something to this mess.