The intent of this post is to build a day-by-day coaching guide for college coaches. This will be a running blog that we will improve throughout this upcoming month. Each month is a year of college football.
Format Day Summary
Evaluate, Scout All-Star Games, Exhibitions Evaluate - Reevaluate your players at least three times at their primary position, athletes at the best one or two positions you found in your earlier analysis. If you have other staff members, you may want to split the evaluations up by offense, defense or something similar. Often you receive extra hours on Day 1, don't let them go to waste. In fact never let hours go unused. With extra hours, practice a play that needs to be activated, re-evaluate some players, create a play. But, always try to end the day with zero hours. Scout All-Star Games - Disperse your coaching staff to attend/scout as many high school all-star games as possible. You can automatically scout many players at once by attending all-star games. Have your coaches travel to the cities where the all-star games are played, search for games, click the binocs and then the attend button. You can attend more than one in a week if they are on different days. After these games are played, go back to your calendar and click on the binocs to view the results of your scouting of these games. Remember, these are based on ONE eval, and you will find the first eval can be way off. Exhibitions - Full exhibitions are available now, but not in season. These scrimmages cost 10 hours and run your custom plays. If you want to play your buddy who's on another team, but not on your schedule, here's your chance. It's also a great opportunity to learn the plays of the other coaches on your staff. The outcome has no affect on recruits, so it's just for fun. However, your players do get boosts.
Recruit JUCOs, Evaluate Recruit - JUCOs should be available today! It's very important to get on recruits first. Each recruit only makes five visits, and it's best to be among the first. It's your coaches decision on whether to go after JUCOs or not. They will start their career as sophomore or junior players.http://pigskinempire.com/forum/topic.asp?$sid=&id=637 (Link to Recruiting Guide) Evaluate - If you failed to complete your evals on day 1 and recruiting is not open, reevaluate your players at least twice at their primary position, athletes at the best one or two positions you found in your earlier analysis
Recruit JUCOs, Playbook Recruit JUCOs- JUCOs are available. Keep up the evaluations and schedule visits with the decent to better players. Playbook - If you are searching for a way to use your hours the day before recruiting, go ahead and create a few plays. You can come back and practice and hone them later. You can create plays and practice as soon as day 1, it's your preference on how to divide time between recruiting and play creation/practice. Full scrimmages are available now, but not in season. These scrimmages cost 10 hours - 12 if you film.
Finalize Roster, Recruit High Schoolers, Attend All-Star Games, Playbook, Practice
Finalize Roser - You have to finalize your redshirts on this day. Freshman are not the only class that can be red-shirted! However, red-shirt a SR, he will not return the following year.
Recruit High Schoolers - They should definitely be out today. Use your map to navigate (drive and fly) the country. Schedule visits. Each recruit only grants five visits, so get in their house quickly. If they don't accept your visit offer that day, try again the next day. As far as offers, each coach has a strategy of when to offer a recruit. You'll figure the best time out through trial and error. However, many coaches have made the mistake of offering too early and gotten burned. I'd wait until they were High on you, even better High and after a visit. If they have a late Winter visit, feel free to offer when they are high on you.
First step would be to do a 500 mile search (use the map in your room) for recruits with high interest on you. If any of these like you, then you are in good shape. Then, drop that down to medium and search. I'd consider medium great for the first day. Then check low. Any interest in day one is GREAT. And with time (and calls and two visits), you may be able to convert that Low to a High. Don't call someone for 20 days straight if it never changes from Low. There is a time to punt a prospect, use your brain. You can even convert people with NO interest on you to High over time. But, just pay attention to whether you are making progress or not.
You may have an idea of how'd you like to recruit. Here are some possibly strategies:
* Focus mainly close to home
* Focus mainly on speed
* Focus on size
* Blanket the country and chase the best regardless of area (good organization for this approach is a must or complete failure is likely)
* Chase the least recruited high star players Attend All-Star Games - If you missed this on days 1-3, here's your reminder. Playbook - If you don't have a solid playbook (including your other fellow coaches on the staff if you have them), you should at least start building up some core plays. The basics like toss right, toss left, HB Dive, Power Right, etc. For passing, short yardage, medium and long yardage plays will be necessary. Try to get some basic plays with average or better success honed and ready for the season. You can add plays throughout the entire year. For defense, build some variety, but I recommend at least four core defenses with sub plays. Sub plays change the assignments of the players depending on the formation he defense comes out in. As far as the four core plays:
* Neutral - a defense that covers pass in common pass formations, and run in run formations (Stock 4-4 Neutral is a good example and may suffice with testing)
* Pass Stopper - sell out on the run and Dbl all WRs (Stock 3-3-5 Man Cover is an example)
* Blitz - some sort of blitz to create sacks (Nickel Middle Blitz is a non-aggressive example of this, but you may want even more pressure)
* Run Stopper - heavy on the run in nearly all formations, but sub plays to prevent embarrassment against with single coverage on Empty and Spread. (No stock example)
In addition, special teams plays are more customizable then in the past. Each coach should create:
* Custom Kickoff Play, consider lanes and directional kicking
* Custom Punt Play, coffin punts for short short situations
* Custom Punt Return, might want a left to counter the stock right return, and also a middle return if the opponent coffin punts
* Custom Onside Kick Return, it's really going to hurt if you call an onside return and the other team kicks onside to the right
Each play must be practiced five times before activation and use in games. Plays can not be activated during the game. If you do have a solid playbook, creating more plays isn't a priority, but learning the best plays of your fellow coaches is important. Communicate! Practice - Practice gives temporary boosts to your players for the next game and contributes to how much they improve at season rollover. Plus, this is where you see how well your created plays work. Players can only improve so much for a given day though. For instance, if your WR gets +4 in hands in a few practices, running him again and again won't keep totaling up. There is a limit! However, all contributes to his season rollover improvements.
- TIP: Read the beginner guides in the forum. There are a few that are really helpful. Also the forum is a knowledgebase in itself and the chat function can be helpful, when its not being used for insult purposes.
WHERE AM I?, Gameday 1, Recruit High Schoolers WHERE AM I? Each gameday you will wake up in a room in the city where your team is playing. For some games, you have to be in the city to actually liveplay call. I'll try and find the instructions for this elsewhere. Also, recruits will come and watch a game if you have one in their area and if they aren't already attending a game that day. I do not know how much this helps. Gameday 1 - Your first game is likely today! Finalize your gameplan. This is located in the playbook. You can set priorities of how often you want plays run in certain situations. Your office/hotel room should have a timer in the top left corner alerting you to how many minutes remain before your game starts. If other games run long, or there are server lags, your game can get pushed back, and pushed back all day (this is very much improved of late thanks to the admins). The gameplan will call your favorite plays if you set them, so make sure to do so if for any reason you can't make the game. http://pigskinempire.com/forum/topic.asp?$sid=&id=2087 - Link on how to watch and call your game. Recruit High Schoolers - This is the second day of recruiting. And believe me, many superstars will yet to be discovered. Use your map to navigate (drive and fly) the country. Schedule visits. Each recruit only grants five visits, so get in their house quickly. Each coach has a strategy of when to offer a recruit. You'll figure the best time out through trial and error. Make sure to call your favorite recruits that your staff has found each day. You can only call them once a day. Find a way to do it more, and risk probation. Use the phone/PDA in your room to communicate with them.
Recruit High Schoolers, Coordinate Recruiting Visits
Recruit High Schoolers - This is the third day of recruiting. Keep calling your favorites and communicate with other coaches on the ones you want them to ignore. Organization is key to landing a great class.
I'd set some rules on who you are calling. For instance:
*HC calls QB/RB/ATH
*OC calls WR/OL/TE
*DC calls DL/LB/DB
*STC calls ST or some of your lated players at other positions. I would not use them as a primary called of the top guys you have found.
*No calls for players under 60 (or higher if you are a top program)
*No unusually slow players at skill positions (a 4.75 safety, or a 4.60 WR). Set speed parameters.
*No more than two verbals at each position, one at QB/RB/FB/TE or risk decommitts and weeping among the coaching staff. Feel free to recruit many more players, but verbals should change who you call Coordinate Recruiting Visits - This is the first day recruits start visiting. Be sure to go to your calendar and set the hosts for these visits. Also, provide adequate funding. You'll need to do this for every recruiting visit weekend at some point. Spend your funds carefully.
- TIP: Do not underestimate the importance of organization. Many teams use spreadsheets to prioritize who they want to chase, and which coach they want doing it. You do not want to waste effort. You'd be amazed at the detail of some recruiting strategies of some teams. For instance, OSU uses Google Documents for collaboration.
Recruit High Schoolers Recruit High Schoolers - Keep calling. You can keep searching as well, but hopefully you've discovered many targets already and you're only chasing players that are awarded high stars each day or players with great evaluations. Every year I've found 3-star players with higher evals than 5-star players. 5-stars are most likely to be the best players, but they aren't everything. Also, if you are still trying to find players to recruits, look for the lighest recruited players. If your team isn't listed at this point and many teams are on High with visits, you likely have no chance.
Recruit Recruit - Keep recruiting. Scouting - Did you know you can scout opponents? You must go to the scores and schedules in leagues----ECAA to click on the game you want to scout, click the attend option and then the attend button. When that game is finished, you can check what you learned about those teams on your calendar. Also, you can practice their offensive plays against your defenses (use match-up) to see what changes you may need to make. The Evals you get from the game will show up on your scouting grid by going to the team that you scouted in that menu.
Remaining Games, Recruit Recruit - Don't forget to offer guys after they visit or at whatever time you find appropriate. Winter visitors can be signed well before their visit if they have you as High.
Playoffs/Bowls, Recruit, Practice Playoffs/Bowls- If you made the postseason, be sure to scout out your future opponents. Recruit - By now, you may have a few verbal commitments. Mind you, these guy might decommitt at any time. It is strongly recommended that if you receive a commitment at a position, you slow your recruitment at that position moving forward. You may see prospects drop from High to Medium after they see you already have a verbal at their position. And, if they commit giving you two or three at that position, one will mostly likely decommit and it could be the best one. It is generally ok to get two players at nearly every position except QB/RB/TE/FB. Practice - If you are in the postseason, your practices are going to be centered around finding what works against your opponents. If you are not, your practices should help balance off your playbook and most importantly contribute to the offseason attribute boosts your players may get. All unactivated plays will lose their practice counts at season rollover. And if you are playing a big game, rest assured your opponent knows your best plays and you should have added to your playbook all season.
Recruit, Evaluate, Practice Field CLOSED Recruit - Keep calling those recruits! If you are light at some positions, go to the recruiting area on the computer and look for lightly recruited players at those positions. Be careful not to take too many people at one position or you will have decommitts. Evaluate - The practice field is closed, so you need to find something to do with your hours. If you create a play, you'll still need to practice it when practice opens back up on the 27th. I tend to evaluate my players over and over again with the hopes that this will help my coaches scouting attribute increase at season rollover. Practice Field CLOSED - The practice field is now closed. Still, find use for your hours. Create plays to practice down the road. Re-evaluate players (every eval contributes to your off-season coaching boosts).
National Signing Day National Signing Day - You will have a message in your room allowing you to sign the LOI - Letters of Intent. All players that have verbally committed, officially sign today. You can sign up to 25 players, or as many recruits as you have available. If you need to free up some scholarships, you can pull some scholarships from older players that you no longer want. Be careful on this page, once you hit save, the players are gone forever and this can affect your coaching rep and future recruiting near that players hometown.
Day 28-30/31 (end of month)Edit
Evaluate Players, Create Plays, Practice Plays, Spring Game Evaluate Players - If you are new to a team, you should immediately evaluate every player at their primary position at least three times. If someone is an athlete, you should evaluate them at every non-line position on both sides of the ball. As you improve your coach ratings, less evaluations are necessary. However, you need to know how good your players are in order to set your depth chart and recruiting priorities. Once you have what you think is an accurate reading, there is no need to evaluate more until the season rollover (1st of each month). Create Plays - The stock playbook has only about five good offensive plays. If other coaches on your staff already have a solid playbook, this may not be important. But, play creation is fun. You can watch videos of past games for ideas if you like. I recommend some core plays, such as tosses, off tackle, dive for running plays and then some generic pass plays. Complicated plays will take many practices to develop perfect timing. Practice Plays - Each new play must be practiced five times before you can activate it for a game. Practice counts are whiped out at season rollover, so if you practice a new play four times, it will be reset to zero on Day 1. More importanty, practicing gives players temporary boosts for that days games and feeds into how well they improve at season rollover. So, even if you don't create plays, be sure to practice often before season rollover and throughout the season. A normal practice costs six hours, with an extra two hours and $500 if you film it. You will start Day 1 with $25000. Also, there are only 20 practices a day allowed at this time, instead of the usual 35. Spring Game - Be sure to schedule your spring game during this time. Practicing incoming freshman does nothing for them at season rollover.
Recruiting is basically done. No need to try and recruit at this minute. If you are new to the team and no one has signed your recruiting class, you may need to do that. You get a message in your room on National Signing Day that links to an area to sign them. Also, you can click on the clipboard - Roster Status - to sign them. If you have more than 25 commits, you will want to evaluate the prospects to figure out which 25 you want to keep, and who you want to let go. You can sign no more than 25 (I don't think this includes JUCOs)(this limit is currently not enforced). If you have more commits then scholarships available, you can pull some of the scholarships from bad upperclassmen and give them to the newcomers. Warning: Once you hit save, the players are gone - FOREVER.
Thanks to jrotogeek