Nowadays most of us don’t have hours to spend on the practice field. We don’t have entire weekends free to just grab a controller and play until the battery goes dead. These days we have to not only practice but practice efficiently.
Many players get frustrated when they practice a play over and over, and then jump online, only to have that play blown up every time they run it. It’s not that you can’t play it’s just the fact that you are practicing against the wrong defenses. Anyone can make a run play look good against a Cover 4 defense, or hit their HB in the Flats all day against a Cover 3 defense. This kind of practicing will lead you nowhere.
You have to simulate real in-game defense as much as you can in practice mode, if you ever plan on having success online. Let’s take a look at some of the defenses we like to run against to test plays before we ever try them online. Now remember, the only way that you are going to achieve real online defense is to play against someone, but these defense will help you get a scheme or a play going.
Cover 2 – Fire Zone 2
The first coverage that we usually come out against is Cover 2. A great play you can lab against is the 4-3 Over- Fire Zone 2 . This Defense is a zone blitz that also protects the flats. Many times when running a spread offense you will face opponents that will try to bring pressure while taking away some of your quick pass options.
This will give you good reps against a defense that can be very successful versus a anxious spread user. Get used to your reads and be comfortable with looking at the outside corner before throwing quick slant out routes to uncovered receivers.
Cover 3 – Prowl Spy 3
The next formation that we go up against is Cover 3. You need to practice against a lot of the Nickel and Dime Cover 3 sets with zone blitzes or with line stunts. The majority of the Prowl blitzes out of these formations have a lot of pre-snap movement and are almost always a full man or Cover 3 defense. So your reads should immediately tell you to look for Cover 3 or full man (Cover 0).
One of the most effective ways to practice is to set these same defenses up with the fake blitz. This is the hardest pre-snap look to deal with and can really frustrate you. At first glance you may get rattled, so get use to it in practice mode and be ready for it when playing.
The fake blitz set up can be beaten by checking your down and distance situation and then recalling what your opponent likes to go to when you’re in this situation. It’s a base look so you can easily beat it by understanding your situation. Also the defensive line will show a 3 or 4 man front. so we can still run versus this tactic.
Cover 0 – Fire Man
As you all know the Cover 0 blitzes in the game are high risk-high reward. I don’t care to practice against these because I rarely see any respectable player using these. This is a defense that is used against you as a sign of disrespect and a statement that your opponent does not believe you can read coverage or handle a blitz.
If I use a Cover 0 Blitz, like 4-3 Over Fire Man, I will make sure I playmaker the ends or the outside linebackers into a buzz or flat zones in order to get a more in game feel for the defense and the reads I need to make. So Cover 0 plays in NCAA 12 are only used as base plays before adding coverage to it. I have yet to see a full Cover 0 play be run in casual head-to-head or tournament play, But I have seen players make coverage changes to Cover 0.
46 Bear – Mid Blitz
If you are wanting to practice inside run plays or Option plays, a great formation to lab against is the 46 Bear formation. Plays like Plug Cover 1 and Mid Blitz are sure to bring heat up the middle and make you work on you stick work behind the line and choose the correct gap to run through. Running the Option against this formation will also test your skills and timing, as to when to pitch the ball or keep it with the QB.
Nickel – 9 Velcro
To simulate a full zone coverage with nine defenders dropping back in zone coverage, we like to bring the defense out in 9 Velcro. Now very few players ever use 9 Velcro, but remember we are just practicing here and we want to improve. By running this defense you increase your ability to see zones that defensive players drop into. Recognizing these zones and being able to throw the ball without interception is tricky against this defense. Work on how receivers break in their routes and work on your timing. This will help you with many zone defenses online.
NCAA 12 Defense Final Thoughts
These are just a few of the many defenses that we practice against here at MaddenTips.com. Always push your offensive skills by calling defenses that should stop the play that you are labbing. If you continue to still have success against it, then maybe it’s time to take it online. If you would like to see more defenses that we use to practice against, just comment below and let us know that you would like to see more. Until next time, keep labbing.