View Full Version : Nuances of coach mode and some tips

Coach Kernzy
08-28-2011, 07:13 PM
I am by no means an expert guys but I've played NCAA football as long as I can remember there being one and I've always played coach mode or some variation of it. I've never been much of a thumb jockey so I've never played any other sports games that I can't play some variation of coach mode.
Unfortunately that has left me out of NHL, FIFA and what are probably other great games but so be it.

Anyway back on topic here. I'm just going to share some of my experiences with coach mode in NCAA specifically to hopefully help out others that might not understand it or enjoy it as much as they could if they knew some of these things.

I'll break this down into a couple sections and maybe branch out a little but but for the most part it'll be two sections, personnel and play calling. I'm not going to get much into recruiting because there is nothing different with this when playing coach mode style.

When playing coach mode your personnel is even more important than when you are thumb jockeying it. When controlling your players you don't have to worry as much about things like awareness or play recognition because you have control of those players and thus they are really irrelevant. However with coach mode you have to be much more cognizant of those things because they make a world of difference in the way your players will perform. Of course all the physical attributes are still very important but the intellectual attributes really matter now as a coach mode player since we are just calling the plays and letting the players perform to the best of their ability.
Because of this, awareness, specifically, is much more important to a coach mode player. Now I know that the majority of players that we have on initial rosters and more importantly recruits have very low AWR but the more the better. I will almost always play the smarter player on defense even if they are not quite as talented or the OVR isn't as good, within a few points though, nothing drastic. So on defense you certainly want to try to play smarter players that can read plays faster, react faster, not bite on PA passes as badly and really just play smarter. On offense this really isn't as important except with your QB of course, always want to try to have a smart QB to make the right throws and good decisions with the ball.
So to summarize, you really want to try have the most AWR on your LBs and DBs on defense and your QBs on offense, and if you run plays with a lot of WR option routes like in the run and shoot then you'll want to have some pretty smart WRs in order to make the right choose on their routes.
Depth charts and formation subs become more important in coach mode as well. You really want to put the right players in the right spot and play to their strengths in order to be as successful as possible. I use a lot of formation subs on both sides of the ball. A couple instances are as follows. On offense I almost always try to put my best blocking RB in the backfield in at least some of my shotgun formations to help with blocking since we all know the pass rush can be a bit overwhelming at times in this game. Now I know that can tip your hand a little but I don't put that guy in all shotgun formations and I will even run with that guy now and then just to keep the other side honest. On defense I really like players that specialize in certain spots. So if I have two stud DTs but they are mostly run stuffers and then I have a 3rd DT that is nowhere as good overall but has great pass rushing skills, I will almost certainly sub that guy in on dime or quarter formations to use his pass rushing skills which are better than my other guys. Or LBs that have great cover skills but aren't very strong or great tacklers, I like to use those guys as subs in dime or quarter as well. Not all the players you have will be great at everything so really study your players and find what they are good at and use them in the situations that give them and your team the best chance to be successful.
As I said before athleticism is certainly important for all your players but with coach mode it's not always the only thing to consider, you must really consider awareness so that player can make the right read, run the right route, not bite on that PA pass or simply just make the smart play.

Play calling:
Personnel is extremely important to the coach mode player but even more so is the play calling because this more than anything else can win and lose you plays, quarters, games and seasons. You've as a coach mode player have to understand there are just some things that don't work well or at all when playing coach mode. There are AI limitations with the game and you have to understand that and call plays that have a high probability of success as well as fit your players abilities. I'll go into more detail but first just a few general tips on types of plays that do and don't work in coach mode for NCAA 12 specifically. Your experience will vary of course based on what skill level your playing on and what sliders you are using. For me and the TGT Coach Mode OD (360) we use Heisman with very slightly adjusted sliders, nothing drastic at all.
What doesn't work... screen plays from under center or slow developing screens even out of the shotgun formations (DL is on your QB to fast and usually results in a sack or fumble...
What does work... I've found that middle WR screens work pretty well out of most any shotgun formation, also some HB screens work well if they are thrown quickly but that is usually all up to your QB and the defensive play call
Doesn't... all out blitzes against the CPU, for some reason they seem to pick it up pretty well more times than not and hit you with a big play so it's high risk for little reward
Does... I much prefer to play a bend but don't break defense and not give up the big play so I rarely blitz and when I do it's only with 1 or 2 extra guys, I like to adjust my DL to help get pressure instead of bltizing, like slant my line to one side or the other or even slant them all inside, or another thing I'll do once in awhile is pinch all my DL inside together and then slant them to one side or the other to really clog up running lanes or create confusion for OL which results in some more pressure
Doesn't... for the most part, running out of shotgun formations especially the base, off tackle and sweep runs; these just develop to slowly and most of the time it seems the RB wants to consistently run East-West instead of cut it up North-South
Does... draws do work pretty well in the right situations and what I like even more than that is the shotgun formation with the offset HBs slightly behind the QB to one side, the dives and other run plays out of those sets work much better than the normal shotgun sets with the HB lining up right next to your QB, coming out in a multiple WR shotgun formation with that offset HB and then quick audibling to a dive can be pretty deadly against defenses set to stop the pass
Doesn't... this one really sucks and it's a real shame but hopefully EA will resolve this at some point but options or read options of any sort are pretty much worthless in my opinion, they are just to slow developing and the pitch relationships on outside options just aren't very good, the QBs don't read correctly and most of the times option plays or read plays will result in lost yardage or fumbles
Does... since I'm aware of this I rarely, if ever run any kind of options or read plays, what I do like to run are quick hitting plays right up the middle and on rare occasions I'll run a WR sweep play out of the shotgun formations and the WR fly sweeps out of under center formations can also be pretty effective in the right situation
Doesn't... HUM QB scrambling when using old school auto-pass coach mode style, there are two types of coach mode, new this year is the actual coach mode style that is played from the 50 yard line camera and I find that very difficult to make adjustments so I always play the old school way which is to just have auto-pass turned on and it uses the standard behind the offensive LOS camera view allowing you make adjustments easier and more precisely
Does... so knowing that my QB won't scramble when in trouble I like to call a lot of quicker passing plays or if I'm going deeper and need more time I'll keep RBs or even TEs in to help block and give me that extra second or 2, if you have a good running QB and want to have him run you'll need to use the QB specific runs like QB power or QB draws that you can find in many shotgun formations

That covers most of the generalities and specifics of what does and doesn't work for me but again your experience may be different.
I hope that this info will help some of you out and certainly if you have questions or thoughts about any of this please post it here and I'd be happy to help as much as possible.

08-28-2011, 09:06 PM
Very Good Coach. Would have been nice to known when the game came out. Lost of trial and error to come to those conclusions.

08-28-2011, 10:13 PM
I'll jump in here and echo Coach Kernzy's comments. He introduced me to coach mode a looooong time ago, and it took me a while to realize what he wrote down up in the original post. I came from the thumb jockey side of the game, and I grew very frustrated when plays wouldn't work out like I thought they would have if I were controlling the players. Once I came to the realization that certain routes/plays don't mesh well with coach mode AI, started winning more games and enjoying the game more.

In the old days, screens and swing passes were worthless. This year it's the option and blitz pressure as the defense that seem out of whack. Best thing you can do as a coach is to not fight it and keep trying to run it. If you've seen the play consistently foul up, rip that page out of the playbook. You be much better off and will be much more relaxed in the future.

The other think that coach mentioned has to do with rosters. Don't underestimate playing players out of position, especially on offense. As an example, I have a freshman fullback on my team that seems to preform very well when I sub himin at HB to grind out the game. That big 4th WR that barely sees the field can wreck a defense as a TE. You definitely have to think outside the box to put yourself in the best position to succeed.

Coach Kernzy
08-29-2011, 08:58 AM
Couple other things I wanted to mention.

Use all the tools at your disposal.

On offense

use hot routes to change that route that seems to never get thrown to or completed or runs short of the 1st down marker
hot block your RBs and TEs if you want some extra protection
slant your OL to either side or in or out depending on where you are running
use your gameplanning stuff to have your receivers come back to the ball at the end of their routes or secure the catch for those WRs with not so great hands or have that fumbling HB take better care of the ball, I almost never use anything aggressive on offense

On defense

I like to move my DL and LBs around according to their assignment and moving them around can make for better angles to cover or rush the passer as well
another thing I like to do is shade my safeties from time to time, you can shade them inside, outside or to either side
and again use your gameplanning stuff here as well, I use some of this stuff but not all, for instance I find the ability to create fumbles a little easy when you turn things to aggressive so I only do that if I'm in desperate need of a turnover, most of the time I like to make sure my guys secure tackles and don't allow extra yardage so i have them on conservative, you can also use this stuff to help stop the scrambling QBs if those are killing you

So there you go just some more stuff I thought about that might help.

06-03-2012, 08:07 AM
I know this is old but I recently started a new dynasty with FAU. I just finished season 2 and was likely going to lose my job as HC/OC, sitting at 3-5. I was using ask coach and calling plays from the given plays as to me it was more realistic than thumbing through the entire play book. Anyhow, after reading this and staying away from the plays that we KNOW don't translate well in CM, we turned it around and won 5 straight, including a win over 25th ranked Ohio in the godaddy.com bowl to finish the year 8-5 and get an extension.

Coach Kernzy
06-03-2012, 12:33 PM
Glad to hear it supersigmaof21, I've still got a 360 coach mode online dynasty going strong and will continue it on into 13.
I think you're PS3 but if you have or do ever get a 360 we'd love to have you in the TGT CM OD.

06-03-2012, 07:14 PM
If I had a 360 I'd love to be a part of the OD but alas, I'm just an old PS3 guy

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06-06-2012, 03:19 PM
I've always been intrigued by Coach Mode. From around '04 until last year I was heavy into Madden PC GM leagues (co-commished one of the bigger, longer-running ones), where you would handle everything that has to do with running the teams except for actually playing the game (which would be run CPU vs. CPU).

I absolutely loved those leagues. Mainly because, like you mention above, the players ratings mattered over all else. The only human effect on the game being played on the field was the gameplan (playbook/%'s, depth chart, form subs, etc.) that the GM's set heading into the games. I'm also a big-time fan of participating in everything that happens off the field in the game ... especially when it was part of a human-controlled league. Hell, probably more so the off-the-field stuff, than the on-the-field-stuff. The only negative to those leagues was the often times bone-headed playcalling ... hence my intrigue with a coaching league.

I'd be interested in joining your coach mode league, if you are looking for new members for 13. I'd jump in on '12 now to get some experience, but I no longer have that one.

Coach Kernzy
06-06-2012, 04:08 PM
Stay tuned cts, I'm sure we'll be looking for some new additions for 13 when we're ready for that.
Our OD forum is here (http://www.thegamingtailgate.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?67-TGT-Coach-Mode-OD-(360)) so check it out and drop a post on the Owner Roster / Waiting List (http://www.thegamingtailgate.com/forums/showthread.php?2607-Owner-Roster-Waiting-List) thread.

06-06-2012, 05:09 PM
Thanks, will do.

06-06-2012, 05:38 PM
Coach, count me back in for 2013.

Coach Kernzy
06-07-2012, 10:58 AM
Coach, count me back in for 2013.
Hey long time man, be sure to post in the Owner Roster / Waiting List (http://www.thegamingtailgate.com/forums/showthread.php?2607-Owner-Roster-Waiting-List) thread.

06-09-2012, 07:23 AM
You don't realize how big of an impact your QB scrambling has on your offense until you coach a dynasty game in the old style auto-throw. Jeez

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06-09-2012, 11:42 AM
I won't ever do that again

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06-11-2012, 06:37 AM
Finally using the generic spread playbook and finally started to run some of those blast plays. Beat rival FIU 30-7 in my starting QBs first game back from injury. He passed for about 215 and rushed for another 110 or so.

Coach Kernzy
07-15-2012, 01:15 PM
With 13 now out and some good Heisman sliders I've found I'm going to get the TGT CM OD (360) going again very soon.
If anyone is interested in a good Coach Mode OD let me know and you'll be welcome to join our solid base of guys.

08-13-2019, 07:41 PM
8 years later and still reference this thread...