“Football games are won and lost in the trenches” – John McKay, coach of four national championships at USC.
The NCAA Football series has always never been about the big guys on the offensive line and defensive line. And when they have focused at all on them, it seems like the D-Line gets all the options. The most annoying thing that NCAA Football 12 provided with offensive lineman was when a ballcarrier started to get behind his line, they would go out of their blocks and start to head down field, leaving the poor ball carrier ready for a date with a 275-lb plus defensive lineman. It didn’t help that there seemed to be physic AI at times who would immediately blow up into the backfield before the ball was handed off. Or even worse – did ratings even matter on the offensive line in NCAA ’12?
Wasn’t it somewhat odd when you could beat a 95 OVR 1st-team All-American offensive tackle by a 50 OVR 210lb DE? Wasn’t it a bit frustrating when the defensive line was immediately in your backfield when you had the inferior team? Also the adjustments you can make to an offensive line was slide protection. You can make your O-Line more aggressive (which does and usually did nothing), pinch them, make them go to the left on their blocks or to the right, which caused the opposing defense to just have an easy attack from the side you didn’t pick. At times, the OL/DL play worked fine. Other times, it was really, really bad. At least the defensive line didn’t skate away from the play sometimes like players in the secondary did at times (we’ll get to that in a later edition).
To put it lightly, in NCAA Football – the game was not won or lost in the trenches. In most occurrences, it was won by who could score the most points in an offensive shootout. Defensive battles weren’t really in the game – they may not seem exciting, but they are a game that you never really saw and sometimes you’d wish you would have seen.
So what would be things that the OL/DL interaction updated with in ’13? A slight overhaul would be nice. More pre-snap options. Maybe have a way to target a defensive player in the front seven who is having a big game (or is highly rated) and you want the O-line to key on him more to slow him down. Shotgun run blocking needs to be better, it’s an improvement over past games in ’12, but still not the best. Option blocking and defense could be better, lineman need to attack instead of hitting an invisible spot and stopping or then running downfield and giving up on the block. Why don’t these players then try to fight back instead of aimlessly running downfield towards the next guy who is not even in the action of the play? Ratings need to mean more – the impact block rating in my opinion is USELESS. A player with 90+ impact block should be the guys who open up the big holes in the heart of a defense. There are many little things that can be updated. I can’t tell them what to do, but we’d surely like to see it. You can’t tell me at some point you got a little upset that a play got blew up for no reason in an NCAA Football game. And then on the flipside, sometimes it seemed like it was way too easy to win a battle with an inferior player.
To wrap it all up.. I guess you could say the OL/DL play needs consistency but needs more impact from players who generally effect the game on the actual field – the lineman. Thank you for reading.