We go behind the lines with the coaching aspect of EA Sports' latest college football sim.
If you look at the schedules only, the college football regular season is only about three months long--from late August to mid-November. Of course, this segment is only the most visible part of the college football season. Ask a coach (or a truly hardcore fan), and he'll tell you that the college football season is "on" 365 days a year. He'll say it's a yearlong cycle that finds teams working just as hard in the offseason as they do during the fall, in preparation for Saturday games. It's nine months of study, preparation, observation, and decision making, followed by three months of letting it all hang out on the gridiron.
For the past several years, EA Sports' NCAA Football series has attempted to capture the intensity of the offseason in its dynasty mode by placing the gamer in the position of coach as you look to fill up your rosters for another fall campaign against your conference rivals. For some gamers, this game-within-the-game is just as compelling, if not more so, than the game on the field...especially as the interface and options have improved with each successive iteration. In this preview, we'll take a look at what's new for recruiting in NCAA Football 2006 to give you an idea of how you'll be spending your offseason time in the game.
Perhaps the most noticeable addition this time around is in-season recruiting. Convincing blue-chip talent to commit to your school is a year-round process, after all, and the competition is tough, and the stakes are high. And though you won't necessarily be the subject of intense media scrutiny or death threats from unhinged college football fans in NCAA Football 2006, you'll still have a drive to win. To do so, in-season recruiting will help you get a leg up on the competition by identifying holes in your lineup you'll need to fill once the next season rolls around. A handy screen gives you instant access to your team needs by position, along with the number of high school players targeted and their current commitments. You'll be spending a lot of time checking this screen as you try to make a determination of which holes need filling.
Once the season begins, you can allot recruiting points toward each of the prospects you have targeted. Each week you'll start with 100 points to distribute between your targeted prospects, and you'll be able to change the individual point allotments on a week-by-week basis. Indeed, if a player commits to another school, or signs a letter of intent to come to your school, for that matter, you'll be able to redistribute his recruitment points to other players. As the season progresses and your list of targets shrinks, you'll find yourself left with a handful of recruits, all of whom you can spend some heavy-duty recruiting points on to make the final push for a commitment.
Just as in real college ball, some aspects of any great football program include the atmosphere of the stadium, the energetic crowd, and the electricity of the game-day environment. Indeed, using games themselves as a primary recruiting tool is a time-honored tradition among college coaches. And you'll be doing the same thing in NCAA 2006. Later in the season, once you have a few interested candidates, you'll be able to invite them to campus for a game-day visit. There is some flexibility on scheduling visits, so you'll want to make sure your number one blue chip comes to campus during a critical conference matchup or during a crucial rivalry game. Just make sure you win the game, as your star player will be watching every move your team makes. When the recruit visits, you'll also be able to make a specific pitch on the merits of your program, be it the academic strength of the school, your coaching style, or a promise of early playing time. How well (or how poorly) the recruit reacts to that pitch will also have an effect on how eager he is to hitch his horse to your post or to some other school's post in the race.
One thing we noticed about the in-season recruiting in NCAA 2006 is that it seems to be much easier to pick up three- and four-star talent during the season, as opposed to during the offseason. Indeed, if you play as a lower-tier school, it may be your only source of blue-chip talent before the heavy-duty recruiting gears begin grinding.
Once the season ends, you should have a few recruits already under your belt. Now that you've whetted your appetite with the in-season recruiting, you can get down to the nuts and bolts of the dynasty mode's main course: offseason recruiting. Just as in last year's game, you'll start off with some budgetary matters by having to distribute your department's overall budget among three categories: recruitment, training, and discipline. As you might expect, the more budget money you grant one category, the more benefit you'll have in that particular phase of the offseason. More money in recruiting will mean more offseason recruiting points to use in enticing players, while a bigger slice of the budget pie in training will give you additional bonuses once drills begin.
- Release Date: Jul 11, 2005 (US)
- ESRB: ETitles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older.