Ever since I started playing football video games, I've always thought of myself as an offensive mastermind. Defense, not so much, but on offense, nerdy as this sounds, I even used to make a script, Bill Walsh-style, and run the script against my opponent on the Sega Genesis.
Like I said, though, on defense, I admit my shortcomings. I like to blitz. I like to pressure the quarterback and force him to make an error, but I'm nowhere the defensive play-caller that I am on offense.
This is one of the reasons I'm so excited about "NCAA Football 12's" revamped Dynasty mode. Now gamers have the option to start the season as either an offensive or defensive coordinator, with the computer playing the coaching role of whichever discipline you fail to choose. So while I'm calling all the shots on offense, customizing my playbook, and calling all the plays I want to run, on defense, it's up to the computer to not only call the plays, but to run the defense while I watch from the sidelines.
"This is all part of the new coaching carousel," producer Ben Haumiller explains as he demos the mode to me. "Hands down, this is the biggest thing fans of the series wanted in our game this year."
The reason fans are so passionate? It's not just about being an assistant coach for the first time n franchise history, it's about the opportunity to claw your way up from assistant and becoming the head coach at your dream program. That's right, start out as an offensive coordinator at San Jose State, and work your way up to become the head man at Stanford one day as every offseason you will be able to see a list of job openings across the country as well as field offers from schools who think you're the coach who can finally turn around their program. But be careful what you wish for, as each coaching assignment comes with a list of goals for you to accomplish throughout your contract, and if you don't meet these goals, you'll find yourself on the hot seat.
Adds Haumiller: "I've actually had some really fun games where I was the defensive coordinator of Florida Atlantic, and we were down by four. It's so nerve-racking to sit there and watch the offense try and drive down the field when you have no control. You're so invested in what you're doing because what the CPU does on offense reflects on your school and your performance, because obviously, you want to win. It's a great new way to play the game."