Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lets Talk Etiquette

So uncalled for....
All things Internet allow people to hide behind a screen name and say things they wouldn't say in public.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

*Deep Deep Sigh*

So a new season of EA's NCAA Football is here. The Flexbone offense has been nerfed, HARD. The toss is basically a stretch play and leaving you with nothing to burn people with when they blitz their inside linebackers. Ho-hum. I've resorted to using the Spread offense. I found a couple of good schemes from Shotgun Split Offset and Shotgun Offset Wk on Youtube and created my own from 4WR Trio. Adapt and Overcome. Schemes and Blitzes are in anybody who's still following this blogs future. Until then, Option and Prosper.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Paul Johnson "If/Then" Playcalling system

Edit: I owe a big debt of gratitude to Duece over at If it wasnt for his post on the same subject, I would've never done this write up.

Paul Johnsons System is all built around running the Triple Option. To get proficient at it You must practice it against all front and know what fronts you cant run it against and what your opponent can do to take that away. The other plays are used as counters to keep the defense vanilla. Im not going to get all into detail like I usually would. But if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I've tested this out for about 8-9 months as I've been working on this since right before the end of '11's season. I've been fairly successful with the system minus a couple of hiccups in my decision of playcalling and dealing with the 1-5-5 . Give it a try and we can discuss it and tweak it for all. NOTE: This is just a guideline for how to use the offense. Should be noted also that playcalling is a art and this is just a tool to help you get out of binds that you may face online.

vs 8man Front
- Utilize the Twins Over, Split Wing Z/X, Tackle Over or Trips

vs Force players on the LOS
-Run Close and Split Z/X to get Better Blocking on the Perimeter

Vs 3-3-5
- See 8man front

After you've done that:
If the free safety is in the box and nobody from the defense goes over to the unbalanced side, attack where the defense has fewer numbers.
If the defense takes somebody over, attack the side from where the defender was taken.

Also dont forget the personel packages This allows your opponent to see 3HB and 2WRs on the field most of the time and allows you to play a chess game with them so they'll never know where they'll line up.

Like I said earlier, The key play is the Triple and all the other plays are a counter to what the defense does against that. Now the general real life rules for wether you call Midline or Triple is depending on the defensive line technique, or where the linemen line up.

The real life rule is that if you have a 2 or 3tech playside (PS) run midline, If you dont have 2 or 3 tech playside run Triple. Im not going to tell you not to do it. But if you do decide to run the triple, I reccomend using the rule of watching to see if the MLB blitzes (keep) or not (Give).

Run Double Option if:
TNT or Bear Front
DT/NT is wrecking havoc and getting into the backfield fast
The opp. is concentrating on taking away the Dive.

Run FB Dive/Sting if:
PSLB is scraping outside
Opp is usering the DE to give a cloudy read
Two 1techs and a MLB aligned over the Center

Run Rocket Toss if:
TNT or Bear Front
Stunting toward inside gaps
PSILB is blitzing A or B gaps
Force Player on the LOS
DE Blitzing the Dive

Run Counter Option (FB Load Option) or WB Misdirection If:
Opp is usering the BSLB and blitzing the BS A gap
Opp is usering LB and flowing hard to the tail motion

Run Option Passes if:
Opp is usering any Safety and flowing fast to the tail motion

Monday, September 19, 2011

Open Letter from "A Dying Vine

If you guys are wondering why I havent updated the blog. Truthfully, Some of the problems with 12 have pushed me away from the game to where I havent played in about 2 months. The letter below, from the moderating staff of, signifies some of my concerns and sentiments. Please read and pass along.

In the wake of Patch #2 for NCAA 12, the moderating staff and community at Utopia wish to express our displeasure and frustration in an open letter to EA and the so called “Game Changers” and “Community Sites.” EA’s NCAA football series served as the catalyst for this site in 2003, and though the Utopia community has evolved to the point that it is no longer centered on EA’s game, we still have a common wish for a quality college football video game. This franchise was once unanimously recognized as one of the most enjoyable and innovative sports games on the market, but has now fallen to such depths that virtually everywhere you look, more and more people on forums all across the internet are expressing extreme frustration and displeasure with both the game and the company that makes it. We see three obvious factors that have contributed to the environment that allows such an abject failure of a video game to be released (with good reviews, no less); exclusivity limiting competition, EA’s patching methodology, and the “Game Changers” marketing scheme which helps to fracture the community and marginalize legitimate concerns about the game.

Problems caused by exclusivity:

Due to the fact that EA has purchased the exclusive rights to the NFL and NCAA football games, they have effectively pushed out all competition from football gaming. This means that they can release bug-filled games without the risk of losing customers who would buy a more polished football game if one were available. One need look no further than the recent failure of EA’s basketball game to see the effect of competition on sub-par and bug filled games. The Madden and NCAA series have been plagued with bugs similar to those that caused NBA Live to be shelved, but without competition the games will continue to be developed with as little effort as possible. The results of the lack of competition speak for themselves. The NCAA series has devolved to the point that gamers can expect even the heavily marketed new features to be completely non-functioning at launch.

For instance, NCAA ’09 touted a new roster share feature that was supposed to allow people to create custom rosters and easily share them with their friends. Unfortunately, the roster editor feature of the game contained a glitch so that once a certain number of players were edited, teams started completely disappearing from the game. On top of that, “Wide Open Gameplay” (the tagline for that year) translated into “No Defense At All”, and the game quickly turned into a complete joke as it was nearly impossible to stop anybody on defense. On NCAA ’10, the game was released with sliders that did not work (i.e. they had no impact on gameplay at all), with rosters that were clearly flawed, and with a new “run commit” feature that was so overpowered it virtually destroyed any gameplay balance (particularly for online play). NCAA 11 touted the new “locomotion system, which effectively broke zone defense, and new web based dynasty interfaces like the “Dynasty Wire,” which turned out to be incredibly buggy (frequently crashed or displayed the wrong information) and is still listed as “Beta” on the website.

This year, one of the most heavily marketed new features in NCAA12 was custom playbooks, something Utopians have been asking for since the feature was dropped with the move to next-gen systems. As many have come to expect from EA, the custom playbooks feature was completely broken at launch. It contained a glitch which would cause the playcall screen to go blank and would result in players standing around in a huddle over the football rather than lining up in the correct formation. In addition to the custom playbook glitch, the new custom conferences feature was also broken at launch, containing massive scheduling errors that rendered it unusable. In addition to problems with new features, there were also numerous instability problems that caused the game to freeze or crash, as well as several glitches that affected online dynasty mode, such as dynasties not being able to be advanced properly and wins not being correctly recorded. At this point, the game is so bug filled that you are lucky to finish a game without a crash or disconnection. Even if you do finish the game, the result may have been recorded incorrectly, making your efforts futile. It is like clockwork; every new feature will be completely broken at launch and features that worked in the past will have new and crippling bugs.
We acknowledge that all video games are released with some bugs, but we feel that the lack of competition due to exclusivity has allowed EA to release football games that have more numerous and game-killing bugs than any other title. NCAA12 is the least stable console game that we have ever played. If EA had true competition in the football gaming world, they would be forced to either shelve the game, like NBA Live, or go back to the drawing board and dedicate more resources to releasing a quality game, like the FIFA series.

Problems Caused by EA’s Patching Methodology:

In general, the ability to patch games has been both a blessing and a curse for gamers. While a good patch can save a game that would be otherwise derailed by a small bug, it also allows developers to release games that are basically unfinished, counting on patches to tie up all the loose ends. Nowhere is this practice more prevalent than in sports games, with their rushed yearly development cycle.

With the NCAA series, EA manages to take the “release an incomplete game and patch it” model to an incredible new low. Not only do they release obviously unfinished games, but in an effort to patch problems, they introduce new and bigger problems. For instance, last year EA released a patch that was supposed to address some problems with defensive AI and overpowered man to man coverage, and it instead resulted in a new glitch were the QB could pump fake backwards (towards his own goal line), and cause all of the defenders to immediately abandon their assignments and run towards the line of scrimmage.

While there is a long, well documented history of these issues, NCAA12 has taken things to a completely different level. This year, after waiting for nearly two months, EA released a patch that was supposed to correct some of the problems with custom playbooks, online dynasties and system stability. Producer Ben Haumiller closed his blog about the title 2 update with “Thank you again for your patience for the arrival of this second Title Update. I trust you will find that it has been well worth the wait.” To put it bluntly, Ben, It was not “worth the wait.” The patch not only failed to fix the majority of the problems it claimed to fix, but it also caused new problems that affected the no-huddle (a prominent feature for NCAA 11) , completely removed some formations from the game, and caused a host of new issues with the few custom playbooks and online dynasties that had the good fortune to work before the patch. Not only did EA release an extremely flawed product for sale at retail in July, but it took almost 2 months to release a patch, and the patch turned out to cause numerous new problems. At this point, it is obvious that the development team for NCAA football cannot even patch their own game without introducing a cornucopia of new glitches and bugs.

Problems caused by EA hijacking “The Community.”

Over the past few years EA has gone to great lengths to improve their faltering reputation with “The NCAA Community.” Whether it came in the form of sending EA representatives to forums, the “Community Leaders” program, or the Game Changers” program; EA has shown that they value having a positive image in “The NCAA Community.” While this all sounds great, we find their efforts to be entirely disingenuous.

Before they even try to reach out to “The NCAA Community,” EA attempts to define “The NCAA Community” in a way that eliminates those who are openly critical of their product. For instance, Utopia is notably absent from EA’s list of “Community Sites,” despite the fact that we are the largest NCAA specific community. The only interaction we’ve had with EA this year was a Cease and Desist letter in response to our April Fool’s prank, proving that they not only read the site, but they also did not find our prank nearly as funny as we did (in retrospect, our April Fools descriptions of the game were actually far more accurate than the glowing reviews found on other sites). We acknowledge that EA attempts to avoid interaction with us because we are uncouth, drunk, and/or overly hostile; but that doesn’t mean we aren’t part of the community!

We also aren’t the only ones to be excluded from EA’s community program. Several other critical community members, including those who belong to TheSimStandard YouTube group (many of whom have provided incredibly detailed documentation to show problems with the game and ways to solve them) are also shunned by EA. This, despite the fact that they reach far more people than many of the “Community” sites that are included. For example, videos uploaded by TheSimStandard channel contributors have combined for a total of 713,955 views and they have well over 20,000 subscribers, while several of the sites that are included in the program appear to reach fewer than 100 members and are rarely updated with new NCAA related content. The simple fact is that EA has systematically worked to prevent anybody who is openly critical of their game from receiving any official recognition for their efforts. Instead, they choose to define “The community” as those sites, regardless of size/exposure, who will toe the EA company line.

The “Game Changers” program, much like the “Community Leaders” program before it, is a complete farce. As much as EA talks about incorporating community feedback into the game, it is increasingly evident that EA does nothing of the sort, and these programs are simply an extension of EA’s marketing strategy. Simply put, we do not see any substantial in-game results from the “Game Changers” program, but we do consistently see a ton of pre-release hype along with glowing reviews. To be fair, we do not fault the “Game Changers” in this. We truly believe that most of them have the best intentions and that they have put in a lot of work attempting to make this a better game. The problem lies entirely in the fact that EA simply can’t (or won’t) make most of the changes suggested by the “Game Changers.” The game engine itself is so archaic, bug-filled, and ad-hoc at this point that most of the common and recurring issues cannot be solved without a significant commitment of resources from EA, which is a commitment they won’t make. Instead, EA will take input from the game changers and promise grandiose changes like “Custom Playbooks” and “Pattern Matching Coverage,” while the actual implementation of those “features” will be nothing but ham-fisted tweaks to an aging game.

Beyond being simply ineffective, we believe that the “Game Changers” and other EA sponsored “Community” programs fracture the true gaming community and create a divisive environment that allows EA to release such buggy games without the proper amount of community outcry. This is due to the fact that EA places the “Game Changers” in the unenviable position of answering to angry gamers for all of EA’s fumbles. These “Game Changers” serve as the only link between the average frustrated gamer and the NCAA football developers. They become de-facto customer service representatives, without the paycheck. The frustrated gamers and the frustrated “Game Changers,” who now must put up with misguided personal attacks, end up divided. Instead of directing the frustrations and anger at the proper target, the community bickers between themselves.

We are therefore extending an olive branch to the “Game Changers.” We don’t hate you, we just lash out in frustration because EA has forced you to play customer service representative for a terrible product. We even apologize for directing our anger and frustrations at you, when EA is clearly the culprit. Please join us in calling EA out for the incredible levels of failure that are present in NCAA12 and Patch #2.

The Utopia moderating staff and frustrated NCAA gamers elsewhere

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Attacking the 3-3-5 and other 8-man fronts from the Flexbone

The Biggest Question lately between the small group of Flexbone guys is how to handle the 3-3-5. I’ve had to go through my Flexbone Clinic Notes and find out how Paul Johnson or anybody from his coaching tree handle the Odd Stack

Vs. the Odd Stack (3-3-5/3-5-3)

Step 1 - Get into (Twins) Over, Trips, or Heavy (Split X or Z and Goal Line).  This is done versus all eight-man front teams to see if they bring someone over from the backside to the play side.  In attacking the Odd Stack, you must get into Trips/Over/Heavy to make the defense declare their backers or coverage (zone or man).

Step 2 - Then, see where the Free Safety is aligned.

If the free safety is on the midline (aligned over the center) and nobody goes over to the Trips/Over/Heavy side, run triple to the Trips/Over/Heavy side.

If the defense takes someone from the backside to the play side, or the defense takes the free safety over, attack the side from where he is taken—away from the Trips/Over/Heavy side.

Important note: When running the Triple Option vs the stack, You need to read the Linebacker and not the defensive end or SS.  

Basic Play Calling guide when running the Triple v. Odd Stack or 8 man fronts.

-FS or play side corner make tackle on Triple = run Option Pass

-If Invert/Overhang/Spur makes tackle on dive or quarterback = Over, Triple Option Blast or Double Option Solid to weak side.

-Vs. Bear = Over/Heavy Double Option to the weak side

-Nose or Mike tackle the Dive = Double Option

-Backside Linebacker tackles the Dive = Counter Option (Trap Option or FB Load with Counter motion

-Playside Linebacker blitzes inside = Rocket Toss

Next up play selection

Monday, January 24, 2011

Heading back stateside

To those that know me, know that Im in the Navy and currently stationed overseas in the country of Bahrain. On the 27th I'll be heading back stateside, transfering to Gulfport, Mississippi. With that being said, expect a lot more play breakdowns (as Im currently working on coverage breakdown, to better explain when and how to uses some of your base coverages) and videos on some of the stuff I explain.

3 days, guys.... 3 days!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Split Field Coverage Pt. 3: Solo and Special

Sorry for the long delay guys.

So far we've talked about handling Trips from the 2-Read (Cover 2 Robber) and how to handle the 2x2 formations from your base 4-2-5 sets. Today I'll give you suggestions on how to handle 3x1 with a solo call and 5 wide sets all from the base 4-2-5 sets

Cover Blue-Solo

“Solo” is a tag that is used verse 3x1 sets that is played on the away side.

This tag puts your Away-side corner on an island in man to man coverage, The Read-side continues to play their assigned coverage, 2 “Robber”. The WS safety and the Read-side Lber have the responsibility of the #3 WR. If he tries to run a divider route, the Lber should bump him and redirect him off his route and the WS will catch him and take him vertical. This also allows you to either blitz or set the MLB in M/M on the HB. Another example is seen below.

PLAY: 4-2-5 Cover 4 (Same as the Cover BLUE) 

  • Set the Away-side CB in M/M coverage over the single away-side WR
  • Spread the safeties


Special is probably the preferred call against 5 wide 3x2 sets. The FS will cover the Trips side, He and the SS will play BLUE (Squats and halfs)  over the #2 and #3 WRs with the Away-side playing the same coverage. FS and Corners have deep and the SSs have the Curl/Flat zones. Read-side Backer has the QB on any draw play. This also leaves everybody in perfect position for run support in case of a Jet Sweep to the outside.

PLAY: 4-2-5 Cover 3
  • set the Read-side CB in M/M coverage over the #1 WR.
  • Manually cover any deep routes by the #2 or #3 WRs with the FS.