Probably the hardest thing to master offensively in NCAA Football 06 is the passing game. My run system is pretty simple to understand. You only have to know if the defense is in man or zone and then you act accordingly.
With the passing game, you have to not only know what defense is shown, but you also have to know how to attack such things as Cover 4 all the way to zero coverage. You have to know how to pick up blitzes, which routes work in which situations, initial ball placement, pocket presence, throwing velocity, hot routes, motion advantages, audibles, and on and on and on.
Needless to say, there is a lot that goes into a just throwing the football around in NCAA Football 06. The combination of all of those aspects I just mentioned is probably the reason why you have always utilized a heavy run-oriented offense.
Maybe it was out of fear of not understanding how throwing the football really works in 06. Whatever the case may be, I want you to break free from your elementary thinking of the passing game.
Passing the ball in 06 is not all about throwing deep balls. You only limit yourself by thinking this way.
You may have already had success passing the ball a ton and that’s great too. You still might learn a thing or two from my system.
For the rest of you who have never taken their aerial assaults to new heights, I want to show you how much fun passing the football really is in 06.
Over the next several posts, I want to break down all of my methods for my passing system. My methods, just like the running game, work for any type of offense you use. Since these methods work across the board, you can refer back to these posts regardless of what offense you like to run.
For this post, I would like to give you more of a holistic approach to my passing game. Later on I will break each one of these aspects down in further detail.
Hopefully by the end of this series, you will have the confidence to conquer 06 via the air!
Let’s get started.
Hash Marks (Initial Ball Placement)
This may be the most important thing I tell you about my passing game. Where this ball is at on the field means everything in my passing game.
I’m not talking what yard the ball is on. I am referring to whether the ball is on the last hash mark, the right hash mark, or somewhere in the middle.
95% of all passing plays in 06 work ONLY if you use them on the correct spot.
Read that sentence again. Flipping plays aside, some plays only work if you run them on the left hash mark, some only work on the right has mark, and some only work if you are in the middle of the field.
I don’t know if you have ever noticed this, but the vast majority of plays in any given game in 06 are played on the hash marks. Thankfully, 90% of passing plays are meant to be played on either hash.
Hopefully by the time you read these series of posts you will be able to identify easily which plays work on which hash mark.
Since I don’t flip my plays that much, you can view every pass play you use as either a left or right handed play.
What is even better is the fact that you can flip these plays and use them on the other hash mark thus given you twice as many plays to work with.
Man vs Zone and Progressions
If you have read any of my earlier posts you know I would mention this topic. Just like my running game, my entire passing system is predicated on knowing before the snap whether the defense is in man or zone coverage. By reading the corners’ movement after the snap, I obtain the most vital information needed to carry out the rest of my reads.
In real football, there are several ways for quarterbacks to read defenses after the snap, or what I like to call: going through your progressions. For our purposes I will only cover two of them.
- The first one is a strict progression where the QB looks at receiver #1, then #2, and so on and so forth, regardless of the type of coverage.
- The second one is a coverage progression where the QB identifies what type of defense he sees and then reads receiver # 1, #2, etc.
For 06 and my passing game I always use coverage progressions. After reading the defense (man or zone) I then look for the receivers who I know should be open in that particular coverage.
I have tried and tried to figure out a way to successfully pass ball in 06 using strict progressions, but I really think 06’s passing game was designed to read defenses via coverage progressions.
I have broken tons of passing records in 06 using coverage progressions so I can attest that this is the way you should view your progressions.
Man vs Zone Routes
To go along with our theme of coverage progression, my passing game heavily relies on knowing which routes are good against which types of defenses. Some routes just work better against man coverage while at the same time can be utterly useless against zone.
The opposite is true as well. Certain routes are perfect to use against a zone but aren’t worth a dime against man.
Then there are some routes that work great regardless of coverage. Then there are those stinker routes that do not work, period.
Here is a nice summary of routes in general against certain coverages:
- MAN is all about knowing which routes allow your receivers to either separate themselves from their defender or shield themselves between the ball and the defender. What also helps is knowing which routes defenders are really good at covering and avoiding those routes against man
- ZONE is all about attacking a defender with 2 or more receivers, putting him in a bind and making him choose a receiver to defend since he can’t defend both at the same time. We want to do this by attacking him with route combinations. Think hi-lo reads, etc.
For part of these series of posts, I will have one that breaks down all of the routes and combinations and will give in great detail how I use them so stay tuned for that.
You may have wondered why you can’t get a certain route to work. Hopefully, my passing routes’ post will clarify some of those questions.
It All Boils Down to This
When you combine the three components above, you have a template for what I try to accomplish with my passing game. By knowing:
- Which plays work on which side of the field
- What coverage the defense is in
- Which routes and which combinations work against which coverages
…you will know which plays I like to use without me even telling you.
I pick plays that have at least one man route and one zone route.
That’s it. That the basic gist of my passing game.
After knowing all the basics of the points above you will be able to flip through your formations and you can look at a particular pass play and say to yourself,
“This play has at least one route that works great against man and at least one that works great against zone, therefore I should have an answer for anything the defense throws at me.”
Thankfully there are lots of pass plays that have at least one man route and one zone route. There are plenty of plays that have two of each.
This also plays a huge part in your pocket presence and your ability to slow the game down. By knowing which route should be open on any given play, you only have to look at one or two receivers at the most every snap.
This will help avoiding sacks too. By only having to look at one or two reads, you can focus on noticing the pressure more so you can avoid those unwanted sacks.
That is my goal with these next few posts. I want you to feel confident enough with throwing the ball that you can slow the game down mentally. This is why Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are great at what they do, they know how to mentally slow the game down.
I want to do the same for you
I hope this gives you some idea into how I view the passing game in 06. I know you probably already have questions. Feel free to put them in the comment section. Just know that my next few posts should help answers some of you questions and concerns.