NCAA Football 12 Offense Basics
That not every specific situation is covered. Not only is your team's strength important to consider, but your opponent's strength is as well. If they're having trouble stopping your run, then in any situation where you don't have a specific plan, another run should get you some yards. Conversely, if the opposing defense is stuffing your run no matter what you do, you might need to pass unless you're in a must-run situation. No matter what, always lightly scout the opponent if you can, and always thoroughly scout yourself before games.
If you're playing online and tend to stick to the same team, you should be very familiar with all your players and their capabilities. On all passing plays, the WRs have definite routes that they run. If they cut quickly change directions or curl come back toward the line of scrimmage after running a set distance , you'll want to time it so they receive the pass as or soon after they make the move. For example, let's take a play in which the WR cuts inside. The moment he plants his foot and turns directions, the enemy defender is still going to be travelling the same direction.
The defender must react to the action, which might buy that extra split second you'll need to hit your receiver when he's free.
The "Red Zone" is the area between either yard line and the closest goal line. If you are inside either Red Zone, the strategy changes a bit. First of all, if you're in your own Red Zone, you need to be careful. An interception or fumble could quite easily turn into a defensive touchdown, even if you're against a team with below-average defenders.
Besides, even if you manage to stop the enemy before they score, he'll be in a beautiful position when they take over on offense. Getting out of your Red Zone has two schools of thought.
Some play as if the ball is on fire, and they pass it deep every time to get out of danger quickly. Others go the safe route and call runs; although they may be stopped sooner, at least there is a much lesser chance of giving up a turnover. If your team has better running or passing, or the defense is weak against one or the other, exploit it.
Say you've got a phenomenal QB and WRs. Passing to get out is probably your best bet. If you've got great blockers and a solid runningback, try a running play designed to get you to the sidelines, then turn up and head downfield.
If you're in the enemy's Red Zone, it's a whole other situation. Again, you'll want to exploit your team's strengths and the enemy's weaknesses, but it's not necessary to go insane with risks. You can usually run your standard offensive plan until about the 7-yard line. The one problem with being in the enemy's Red Zone is that you can no longer use really deep passes.
On the other hand, the enemy may use their best DTs and DEs to stuff the line and give little to no hope of running, which might open up the sidelines.
One strategy you can use, assuming it's first down, is to run your favorite play tailored to your team's strength and see how the opponent reacts. For example, if you're run-heavy , you would run your best running play and see if the defense winds up blitzing you. If they blitzed, regardless of how the play turned out, you might throw a pass on the next down.
If they hung around looking for a pass, you might instead run again. Typically, defenses will run the same type play for the first two downs if the situations are similar , then change for the third if they think it will help them. Play action passes are plays that have the QB pretend to hand the ball to a running back, but then he'll drop back to pass. If you use too many of these, or you seldom call runs, the enemy will not be fooled. Except for the hardest difficulty, the AI is pretty fair: If you generally call running plays, then throw in a PA on the same downs, the AI will generally go for it.
There's a science to using this play, though. The defense will only react to it for a split second, and typically only the LBs are thrown off. After all, the WRs andTEs will be running their routes, so the CBs and safeties won't be distracted since they're only looking at the guys they're supposed to be covering. Also, the fake handoff itself takes about a second or two, which is enough time for a sack if enough of the enemy is blitzing. Basically , you shouldn't run a PA unless you know exactly how it's going to go and who you're going to throw to.
That's not to say you'll have to pass immediately after the fake, but because the PA is nothing more than a deception pass and is therefore only as good as the deception itself , you'll need to find a target quicker than a normal pass play. Because the LBs react more to PA plays than anyone else, try to choose one in which you'll pass to a receiver or tight end going in the middle.
This typically won't get more than a few yards, but it could throw the entire defense into confusion. This works VERY well in-game, although you're going to need a speedy QB to pull it off with any sort of consistent success. With most the defense 30 yards downfield, and the rest tangling with the offensive line, that gives your QB the chance to just walk around the scuffle and sprint downfield.
The defense covering the WRs would have to take the time to turn around, plus the WRs would try to block them. Also, the front line of the defense would have trouble breaking away from the front line of your offense. By the time all the defenders figured out what was going on, your QB could be several yards downfield already and still running. If you want to dive at them however, make sure you're close enough and jam the appropriate button as late as possible: If you do dive and initiate contact, keep tapping it as you make contact to better your chances of taking him down.
If you miss a tackle, you may want to let the AI attempt to finish the play. If you switch players once you fall out of position, that split-second delay trying to get yourself reoriented to the new guy might cause you to let the opponent open up the gap further.
What you especially want to avoid is switching characters and immediately diving: Above all else, remember not to blast the QB after he's passed, or the K or P after he's kicked, or you'll draw a penalty.
Beyond the formations are plays that can make one formation act like another. For example, if you have a blitz with a , the formation almost becomes a Nickel because of how many people are running forward. Generally, blitzes put pressure on the QB, but every man who goes after the QB is one less who is covering a receiver. Those command a safety to double-team one receiver. If you pick Double X, the receiver on the offense's left will get double-teamed.
Double Z will double-team the receiver on the offense's right. Double Slot will double-team the receivers who are NOT on the edges of the offensive formation. Double Wide double-teams the receivers who ARE on the edges of the offensive formation.
Regardless of theory, you have to understand though that it takes much longer to master defensive sets than offensive sets. With all respect, any idiot can figure out offensive plays "Player A runs this way, Player B runs that way, and Player C stands there and blocks," etc. Defensive plays take a great deal longer to practice and figure out, especially knowing when the plays need to be called.
Before the ball is snapped, you can shift your DL and LBs. After pressing the appropriate button to select the line or LBs, hitting left or right on the left stick makes that group slide a few steps that direction. Hitting up makes them spread out, and hitting down tightens them up.
If you see a weakness in the offensive line, or you see a strength of the offense that you need to block, shifting your lines may make the difference between a 20 yard gain and a 5 yard loss. You basically want to look for a situation in which the offense has more WRs on one side than the other. You'll want to shift your LBs to the side that has more WRs to cover them better, for example. Before the snap, you can perform a coverage audible to tell your secondary where to go and how tightly they should cover the WRs.
This prevents quick passes, and increases the likelihood of an interception. Also, should the WR actually get the ball, he should be planted soon after it.
However, if the offense is using their WRs creatively, with odd cuts and the like, your CBs will get burned easily. If you use a lax coverage, your men will hang about five to seven yards away from the line of scrimmage. That way, they can read and react a little better, which more or less defeats the weird cuts the offense may try, and prevents receivers from gaining too many yards in the event they do grab a pass.
Creatively using Line Shifting and special Defensive Coverage, especially together, gives your defenses a bit of a flavor that the offense may not expect. Mix it up to keep them guessing. Sometimes, towards the end of the game, all you'll want to do is prevent a touchdown. If there's only time for one more play, for example, and you're ahead, running a standard defense is not necessary. Definitely put your defensive players in a lax coverage. You should also manually take one player back deep, and have him be the last line of defense.
There are a few plays in the Dime formation that will automatically do all this for you, all of which have the word "Prevent" in them. Usually, this will cause only your defensive line to stay close to the play, while literally everyone else -- the LBs, the CBs, and the safeties -- will just retreat and go as deeply as they can. If you know this will be the last play of the game, combining a prevent play with lax coverage will put you in the best position to counter any sort of Hail Mary the opponent is thinking about trying.