In the last post I illustrated how some run concepts simply don’t work in NCAA 06. One of those concepts is your basic HB Toss. For years, EA Sports could never seem to figure out how to design this play successfully.
Not all is lost with this concept however. I have been able to find a way to make the Toss worth adding to your playbook.
Since you can’t run a toss play from the Gun (no one hardly runs a toss from the Gun in real life anyway so don’t feel like you are missing out here), this post will focus on the Toss play from under center.
Now I obviously do not use the actual HB Toss play. Instead I like to your basic 2-man option play, more specifically the Power Option.
Depending on the formation, this play can be called many things from the Power Option, HB Option, Option Strong, etc.
I like to call my version of the play: The Option Toss.
What you need to know on how to identify the concept is the watch what the QB does in this play.
Let’s dive into this play and see what we can find. I want to demonstrate some of the nuances of this play against man and zone.
Towards the end I will talk about how I like to use this for certain offenses.
QB Tendencies of the Option Toss
There are two 2-man option plays in 06. The Speed Option does not really work for what we are trying to do. With the Speed Option, your QB will start sprinting as soon as the ball is snapped. This doesn’t give us a lot of time to replicate a toss play.
What we want is the other play, the Power Option and the other names for it. With this option, your QB will turn around 240 degrees to the side in which the play is run to.
His turning movement is exactly the timing we need to make our version of this play effective.
Here is an image image of the QB making this movement. He snaps the ball, turns around facing the HB and then proceeds to run with it. This gives your linemen plenty of time to find a defender and distract them.
Now let’s look at some of the principles I use to make this play work against different coverages.
Option Toss vs Man
Here you will see the calm before the storm. Since the defense is in man, I decide to motion #9 to the left side of the field to give my HB more room to do his thing to the right. Neither the defensive line nor the LBs shift so running to the right makes sense here.
The most important thing to know to make our toss play work is when to actually toss the ball to our HB.
I always want to toss it when my QB runs by the play-side tackle.
By then, all of your teammates who are supposed to hit somebody should have found a defender to block.
Notice in the image above that as soon as my QB tosses the ball, most defenders are preoccupied by somebody and my FB is ready to shake hands with the safety thus my HB has lots of grass to work with.
Notice my QB tosses the ball right when he passes my RT, #63.
I also do not use the speed button to reach to my tackle before I toss the ball.
I do this because if I use the speed button on my QB, I lose full control of him. This means that his cuts and other movements will not be as precise.
I say this because it is quite possible that your tackle or tight end can make a terrible block and you have to move around him to make the play work. So don’t bother using the speed button on your QB, it’s just not worth it for what we are trying to do.
Here is a great example of why I love NCAA 06. Sometimes your blockers completely miss their assignments. Notice on this play how my FB should have picked up #21 here but he didn’t.
Sometimes your blockers block and sometimes they don’t. No toss play will ever look the same because none of the players are designed like robots in this game.
Maybe next time my FB will pick up that defender. Thankfully there are no guarantees here which is no different than real football. Be thankful for that.
Option Toss vs Zone
Here I will run Power Option again, but this time against zone coverage. Even though the LBs have shifted outward, I decide to run to the right.
Again, I want to pitch it to my HB when I reach my play-side tackle. Notice how thankfully, my blockers have found somebody to block.
Here is the most important thing you need to know about running the Option Toss against a zone.
You still need to think “vertical and upfield” to gain maximum yardage of this play against zone.
Look at the CB here. He is your read when running against a zone. On this play, my WR is doing a good job of keeping the CB occupied. In this case I should run straight upfield past my WRs backside.
Again, going back to the randomness of 06, the CB could break the block and tackle me or get thrown down completely by my WR. Just don’t expect the CB to make the same movement every play.
I decide to run to the inside and vertically up the field. Notice how the CB was able to turn my WR around but could not break free from the block.
Now all I have to do is break-dance fight with the safety, which is always fun.
Sometimes you will get lucky and the defense decides to blitz the CB. Bad idea by the defense in this situation as you will notice my FB should pick up the CB and my WR will take on the safety, giving my HB plenty of room to test out his 40 time.
How to the Option Toss for Different Offensive Schemes
I love to use the Option Toss for different schemes.
Pro Style: The Option Toss is great when running any Pro Style Offense. One of my favorite offenses to use is Bret Bielema’s power running scheme he has flourished with at Wisconsin and Arkansas. You do have other concepts that let you run to the outside, but the Option Toss perfectly complements the rest of your run concepts.
I-Option: Maybe you just started a dynasty and want to run some old-school option, Old Nebraska Style, but you don’t have the speedy QB you need to run the offense. That’s okay. Just use the Option Toss to supplement the rest of your attack until you bring new talent in.
Original Single-Back Spread: The Option Toss also works well in a spread single-back offense like Mike Price’s scheme he used while at Washington State. Remember Ryan Leaf? That offense went 4-wide under center a lot and so can you in 06. You can run Option Toss from all the 3 and 4-wide Ace formations.
Hopefully by now you have a basic understanding of my version of the toss play. Though nothing is guaranteed (never is with 06, thankfully) the Option Toss is another weapon to have in your arsenal.
Remember, Practice Mode is your friend so play around with this play. Pick a team that does not have a speedy QB. This will force you to not use the speed button.
Play around with motioning guys all over the field and see if you can find any “extra-man” or open grass advantages.
Just remember to pitch the ball when you run by your play-side tackle.
Please share in the comments below your thoughts on this concept.