I posted this on the RFTH/Dynasty board and got ZERO hits. Guess this is probably a better forum. I was thinking about this the other day and thought I'd put it down. While it would require extensive changes (for the better, IMO) in the off-season mode of Dynasty, all it seems could be implemented with existing platforms or small changes to existing platforms. Either way, let me know what you think.
I'm going to start with a bit on in-season recruiting as this will come into play immediately after the end of the bowl games.
I think it would be redundant to have in-season recruiting AND early enrollments, so this is how I'd work it. Every guy who "commits" during regular season will be an early enrollee for spring.
Now, to the offseason.
1. Budgets. This is fine as is.
2. Players leaving. Again, wouldn't really change things here.
3. Cut Players. This has always needed to be earlier in the process and I'd put it here, where it should be.
4. Recruiting. This will also work the same in practice, though the concept will be redone completely (you'll see later) and will be much more true to life.
5. Spring Drills/Spring Game: This is where the early enrollees come into play. All returning players plus early enrollees will participate in Spring Drills. This will work as such. (Note: You will now see the benefit of a quality in-season recruiting effort)
a. Spring Drills. You will be allotted a certain amount of points to spread among the ENTIRE TEAM. This idea I stole from 2K5s "Weekly Prep" feature. Basically it works like this. You can assign points/time to certain drills for each position, with each drill improving your players in certain areas. The catch is that you only have a given amount of points/time to spread over the WHOLE TEAM, so you'll have to decide who gets the most work. Young Receivers? Young Linemen? Spread it evenly or focus on certain units or younger players? Your choice. Since spring will be less-extensive than Summer, you will be able to take more chances here or focus more on individual units or younger players.
b. Spring Game. Played just like a regular game, except one hitch. You can play the entire game as first team or second team - or play the entire game as offense for both or defense for both. Performance in this game matters as a player's performance in the Spring Game combined with their work in the Spring Drills affects their overall ratings improvement or lack thereof. Do well in the game and you'll get a nice spike in ratings. Do poorly, and you're player won't progress much, if at all, and may even drop points.
c. Progress Screen. Self explainatory.
6. Recruiting: Yes. Recruiting. The pool of recruits for the next season is produced here. Just like real life, this is where you identify who you want to scout/recruit for next season. You'll have a given number of choices and these will become the kids you try to woo in the next season. This pool WILL NOT CHANGE, so no save-cheat next offseason (right after players leaving) to find a more suitable pool. As you can imagine, this will create a much more realistic in-season recruiting for the next year. Also, you'll recruit full-on from the beginning of the season until signing day. Not two separate entities - one complete process. At this point in the off-season, though, we'll just be scounting and identifying our targets. Lastly, I would want this to be very competitive, so that you can't just load up on awsome players and steamroll the cpu by the third season. Recruiting will be important. Doing something with your recruits (through the Spring and Summer drills/games) will be even more important.
7. Summer Drills/Pre-Season. This will work just like Spring Drills except for a few exceptions. All recruits are now in the pool (see the advantage of getting those early commitments/enrollees?) along with early enrollees and all returning players. Also, since there are more kids and summer practice is more extensive than spring, you'll have a larger (perhaps significantly) pool of points/time to work with. . . enough that everybody should get some solid practice - but not so much that you don't have to allot points/time smartly. Summer Scrimmage/Game will work just like Spring Game. Play one team or the other or play all offense or all defense.