Title - NCAA Football 2003 Platform - PlayStation 2TM Version - 1.1 Author - "DTheaterFan" Greg Necastro E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org Updated - August 8st, 2002 Table of Contents i. Legalese ii. Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. Changes from 2002 3. Getting Started 4. Who's Leaving? 5. Time to Recruit 6. Training 7. Cut Day 8. Depth Chart 9. Start Season 10. Redshirts 11. Schedule Changes 12. Go Get 'Em! i. The legal stuff This guide is authorized to appear on these websites: www.gamefaqs.com www.psxcodez.com If anyone finds it on any other site please inform me ASAP. E-Mail Address: email@example.com Copyright: (c) Copyright 2002 Greg Necastro. This document is protected by US Copyright Law and the Berne Copyright Convention of 1976. It is for private and personal use only -- it cannot be reprinted in part or in whole, or reproduced in any way or in any form (written or otherwise). It is a free document that cannot be used in any sort of commercial transaction, including selling it or giving it away as a gift. This Guide cannot be referenced, altered, or used by anybody (including web masters, publishers, and magazine staff) without my express written permission. ii. Acknowledgements I had a lot of fun creating my recruiting guide for NCAA Football 2002. It seemed to help people and I received a lot of positive response from players. I am hoping that this guide will prove to be a good reference for guiding players through the recruiting process. I want to give thanks to the on-line community of gamefaqs. This is the place I spend my time answering and asking questions about video games. I want to say special thanks to two NCAA vets who are still trolling the boards: XainRaider and DZombieSlayer (fka OregonStateFan31). Good guys who's only crime is the colleges they support, Syracuse and Oregon State. Hopefully, one day they will see the way of enlightenment is on the blue turf of Boise State. 1. Introduction The game within the game. Probably the most exciting feature of playing college football is recruiting. Playing an NFL game, you spend your off-season trying to keep your star players and make shrewd trades and drafts to improve your team. In college, however, it's a totally different world. Players graduate or decide to leave early and there is nothing you can do to stop them. Even if you get a freshman who becomes an All-American his first year, you will only have him for four seasons at most. With good planning and a little luck, your goal is to add players to your team that not only fill needs, but improve the overall strength of your team. 2. Changes from 2002 If you played NCAA Football 2002, then the recruiting process looks very similar. The screens are a little fancier. The recruiting points system has been revamped. But, basically it's the same process. Except for redshirting. In 2002, redshirting was part of the off-season schedule. In 2003, it is part of the pre-season schedule. My first impression is that I like the new format better. The reason is that I can go back and redshirt players up until I start playing games. In the old game, you had one chance to redshirt players and once you did, you couldn't go back. With the new format, you have the chance to repeatedly review your depth chart to make sure you haven't shorted yourself in any positions as well as identify any possible overloaded positions where you can redshirt any additional player. 3. Getting Started Well, you've finished your season as a head coach. Are you pleased with your results? Do you have an idea of what are your team's strengths and weaknesses? It's time to start recruiting new players to turn those weaknesses into strengths. After the last week of bowl games, you will be prompted to enter off-season. But, don't jump into the off-season just yet. Most importantly, if you want to leave your current school, you have to do it before the off-season begins. Also, if you want to look at final standings and stats, you need to do this before you begin the off-season. Whenever you are ready to advance, simply go to the play week option and choose weekly schedule. The begin off-season prompt will reappear. If you have come to the end of your contract, you have to decide if you wish to remain with your school. If you have met your coaching objectives, the school will offer you a new contract (probably with new goals). This happens after the last bowl game is played and you have to make your decision right then. You can't go any further with the game until you do. So, if you are accepting the new contract, or will continue with your current one, you can enter the off-season anytime you wish. However, if you did not meet expectations, the school will fire you and you will have to find a new school to coach. Also, you may leave your school before your contract expires (for a small hit to your prestige). To leave your current position, select the coach's contract under the coaching options menu from the main dynasty menu. At the contract screen, select the option to resign your position and verify your selection. When selecting your new school (either by choice or force) you will be able to coach at any school who's prestige is equal to or less than your coach's prestige. So, if you have a bad run with Rutgers, don't expect Oklahoma to want you taking over their program. Once you have selected your new school, you can proceed to the off-season. The off-season menu has a couple of differences from the dynasty menu. The first option is the off-season schedule. Select this one and you will see a menu of seven steps that are involved in the off-season, each is addressed, in order, in the following sections. This is the screen you use to progress through the off-season (like the play week during the season). Recruiting Recap can be selected after the recruiting is completed to see what players were drafted for each team and see who had the best recruiting class. The rest of the menu should look familiar. To complete the off-season, the Off-Season Schedule is the option you want to choose. Select the schedule and go to the off-season list. The off-season schedule looks like this: 1) Players Leaving 2) Recruiting 3) Training Results 4) Cut Players 5) Set Depth Chart 6) Start New Season Each option will be addressed in order. 4. Who's Leaving? Cross your fingers and hope for the best. When you select players leaving, it's a matter of random luck. Hopefully, you will not lose to many star players. You will be presented a list of players who have used up all of their eligibility or have elected not to return next season and enter the NFL draft. Of course, all of your seniors are gone. They have used up their eligibility and can no longer play on your team. Also, some of your top underclassman may decide to leave and take their chances in the pros. You have no control over who decides to leave early. You can't beg them to stay. Your only option is to find a suitable recruit to take his place. At this point, there is an option to export your draft class. What this does is it creates a file of all the players who are leaving their college teams. This file can then be imported into Madden 2003 (it is not backwards compatible to Madden 2002) and the players will make up the draft class in the dynasty mode for Madden. If you don't have Madden 2003, you don't need to export your class. If you have Madden and want to use your college players in the draft, this is the only chance you have to create the file. Once you move on to recruiting, all the leaving players are removed from the rosters. Being an old guy, I still rely on pen and paper. One of the things I like to do is to list each player that is leaving. When you see your list of leaving players, you can press the select button to see their final college career stats. The important thing is if you have a player that never played a game, you aren't losing anything other than a body. For example, say you lose a SR halfback who never played. But, you have two others returning, including last year's starter. Well, because of roster minimums (discussed in the next section) you will have to recruit a new halfback (or accept a walk on). But, since you haven't lost an active player, you may decide not to concentrate on that position if you cannot find a suitable recruit. This will be further explained in the recruiting section. For now, just keep in mind which positions you are losing key players and which are just unused roster spots. Once you've reviewed all the information you wanted on your leaving players, it's time to advance to the next step. On the off-season schedule screen, select Recruiting to move to the next step. You will be prompted that moving ahead will complete the previous step. Select OK to move on. Note: Going to the next item is how you complete the previous one. You will always get the warning prompt. As long as you go step by step, there is nothing to worry about. 5. Time to Recruit. Enter recruiting and you are presented with a map of the US in front of you. You will notice that your school's home state is highlighted. From this screen, you have a few options. The most important screen (actually, an overlay) for recruiting can be accessed here (and in several other places mentioned later) by pressing and holding the circle button. When you let go of the button, the screen overlay goes away. This brings up a roster overview. You will see a listing of each position: QB, HB, FB, WR, TE, T, G, C, DE, DT, MLB, OLB, CB, FS, SS, K, and P. The next four columns will show you how many players you have at each position, broken down by year (FR - Freshman, SO - Sophomore, JR - Junior, SR - Senior). In the next column is the total number of players you have for that position. The year of the player relates to their eligibility. Your seniors have one more year. Your freshmen are all redshirts from the previous season. Obviously, if you are recruiting in the off-season, you don't have any true freshmen on the roster. The new recruits will be freshman. Remember that the grade classification is strictly related to athletic eligibility. A redshirt sophomore is a player who has used one year of his eligibility. (In academia, he could be a freshman, sophomore, or junior, but that doesn't apply to the game and would make things really confusing.) Note at the bottom of the screen are the total number of players by grade. The thing to remember is the total number of players you have. Each recruiting year, you may offer 25 scholarships. But, you can only have 55 players on your roster. So, if you have 44 players returning from last season and recruit 20 new players, you will have a total of 64 players and will have to eventually cut 9 players to make the roster limit. Will get into that later. If you want to save a little time, you can create a chart to resemble the roster overlay. The advantage would be that you could add some notes to help yourself. Such as, highlighting players that have never played and could be replaced if a suitable recruit is available. To the right of the total column are the lists of committed players, targeted players, and needed players. Committed players are the number of recruits who are coming to your school. Offered players are ones that you are actively recruiting and have made a scholarship offer to. These players have not committed to a school yet, so you have to decide if you want to continue to pursue them. The needed players column, on the far right, indicates when you have to get players for a position. NCAA does not provide a list of the actual minimums you need. After go through recruiting, my best guess to the minimums are: 4 - WR, CB 3 - QB, HB, T, G, DT, DE, MLB, OLB 2 - FB, TE, C, FS, SS 1 - K, P If you do not fill the position with a recruit, you will receive a walk-on player after the recruiting is completed. Walk-ons are generally low skilled players and you will not be able to cut them if they are the only player for that position. Stop for a moment and consider my previous comments. Say you need one HB. However, your starter is returning and you have a fairly solid backup. As you proceed through recruiting, you don't find a decent HB that is interested in your school. But, you are finding better players at other positions where you don't have a need. You could pass on trying to get a weak HB and pursue a better player at another position. What will happen is you will get the walk-on at HB and you will not be able to cut him. But, unless both of your HBs get hurt, he will likely not play. Then, next season, you may find some better players who are interested in your school. At the bottom right of the screen is the number of available scholarships. You start with 25. Every time you select a player to recruit, this number decreases by one. Therefore, you cannot try to recruit more players than you have scholarships for. If a player commits to another school or you withdraw your offer, the available scholarship total goes up by one. If the player commits, that scholarship is unavailable for the rest of recruiting. Once a player commits, you cannot withdraw your offer. Releasing the circle button gets you back to the main recruiting screen. The next thing to do is press the x button to call up the report menu. There are several reports you can look at to help you in recruiting. The information they contain is identical, but presented in a variety of useful ways. Here's a listing of the reports: State recruits - These are the prospects from your team's home state. Generally, colleges recruit a majority of players from their home state. Very prestigious schools, like Miami, Notre Dame, and Nebraska are very successful recruiting anywhere in the country. But, if you have a lower prestige school, you will have more success at finding willing recruits in your home state. In NCAA 2003, it will cost you more recruiting points (explained later) to recruit players that do not live in the same state as your school. The further they are away, the more they cost. Current targets - These are the players you are currently pursing by visiting them. At first, this list is empty until you select at least one player to recruit. As the weeks progress, you will be able to see which players have committed to your school, committed to another school, or are still undecided. Top 100 - These are the blue chippers for the year. The players here are 5 star caliber and are the most highly sought players. If you look towards the top of the screen next to the player's name, you will see a blue diamond symbol. All Prospects - Anyone and everyone who you can recruit. Interested - These are players that have placed your school in their top 3 choices. These aren't the only players who may have a high interest in coming to your school, just the ones that have you in the top 3. This list will change as the weeks go by. In this menu, all players will be in red. Red indicates a player that has you in their top 3 choices. This is true in every report. All of these reports have the same layout and present the same information. How you want to pursue your recruiting is up to you. I'll explain how to read the information. How you choose to work through the rercuiting process is up to you. So, let's select the top 100 report (you can select any of the reports. The information will appear the same way). Here's the list of the 100 high school studs that are ready to become the big man on someone's campus. When you access this report, the first player is highlighted. At the top of the screen you will see the players name and hometown on the left. At first, the name will appear with a blue background. There are several background colors used. Blue - A player who has not committed to any school and can be recruited. Green - A player you are actively recruiting. Red - A player who has placed your school in his top 3 choices, but you are not recruiting. Team colors - Once committed, the colors will reflect the school colors of the team the player has chosen. These colors are also used in the listing of players at the bottom of the screen. The only change is that once a player commits, he will be displayed in gray. A plain white helmet is in the middle. Once a player commits, this helmet will change to the team he has selected and the word "committed" will appear over the helmet. On the top right, is the players position and rank. For example, if you are looking at the top 100, the first player may be listed as 1-QB. This means that this is the number one quarterback available. The rank is position specific. So, you may see that the number 85 player in the top 100 is listed as the number one strong saftey. You interpret this to mean that he is the 85th best player available, but, also, the best strong safety available. Below the position is the player's caliber displayed in stars. Five stars represents a blue chip prospect. Also, a blue chip icon will appear below the caliber ranking. To the right is the players height and weight. If you press select on a highlighted player, you will be brought to a more detailed report on that specific player. The top of the screen will look the same as the previous one. Below that, there is some new information. Tendency describes the type of player. For example, a quarterback may be shown as a QB-Pocket Passer or QB-Scrambler. This overall description will help you decide if a player is right for your system. If you are recruiting offensive lineman and you primarily pass the ball, you will be better suited looking for lineman who are listed as pass blockers instead of run blockers. In the middle of the screen you will see the stats on the player: Height, weight, 40 time, vertical leap, hands (how well a person can catch and hold on to the ball), bench press, and squat. The stats shown will be related to the type of player you are looking at. You will see strength numbers for lineman. Backs will show their leaping ability and hands (how good they can catch). Each of these statistics is designed to help you evaluate a player. As you get to the bottom third of the screen, you will see the interest level and top 3 schools for the player. Interest level is how interested he is in coming to your school. Levels of interest are Very High, High, Average, Low, Very Low. The higher the interest, the better chance you have of recruiting a player. The top 3 schools are the players top choices. If your school is listed, than it will be easier to recruit this guy to your team (but, by no means a guarantee). Also, just because a player does not list you in his top 3, it doesn't mean you can't pursue him. If he receives no interest from his top 3 schools, he will be more open to other schools. In the game, a player cannot go to a school who does not offer him a scholarship. Under this is some blank space. As you pursue a player, information from the coaches will start to appear. This will tell you how the recruiting is progressing. You will find things about if the player is more or less skilled than his numbers, is he interested in your school, does he have room to grow, etc. After looking over the information of a player, you can use the up and down arrow to scroll to the next player in the list. Or, you can press triangle to get back to the report list. For the example, press select to go back to the report. Let's say that the player we just looked at was interested in your school and you want to try and recruit him. Pressing x brings up the recruiting submenu. At the top is a bar that gives a graphical representation of the player's interest in your school. The fuller the bar is (it fills from left to right) the better chance you have of signing him. For each player, you have four options of recruiting. You can do one or all four of them. Each option cost a certain amount of points. The more points you spend, the better you chances are. The options are: Visit by head coach Visit by assistant coach Call by head coach Call by assistant coach The points it cost to recruit depend on the location of the player. Players in state cost the least: V-HC (8), V-AC (4), C-HC (2), C-AC (1). Players out of state cost more, depending on how far away they are. It appears that the costs are either double or triple the instate charges and depend on how far away they are. Below the recruiting options, there is the balance of how many recruiting points you have remaining. Points are given based on your performance in the past year. The better you and your team does, the more points you get. As you select recruiting options for a player, your available points are deducted by that amount. You start with the same total every week, so use them all. Highlight your choice and press x to select (pressing x again will deselect). Underneath the options are two choices. Continue, which accepts your choices and goes back to the report menu. Withdraw offer, which removes this player from your current target list and returns one scholarship to the available total. When you are sure you want to recruit a player, make your choices and select continue. You will be taken back to the report menu and you will notice that the player is now listed in green. Green indicates players you are pursing. How much recruiting you can do for each player depends on where the players are. If you concentrate on instate players, you will be able to use more recruiting options for less points. For example, if you did all four option on a player instate, it will cost you 16 points. To do a head coach visit for one player across the country, it will cost you 24 points. And, that is the mechanics of recruiting a player. You would continue to do this until you have used up all of your recruiting points or have no more available scholarships to offer. At any of the report menus, you can press (and hold) the circle button to see the roster overlay. As you recruit players, you will see numbers fill up the active column (2nd from the right) and your number of available scholarships reduced accordingly. After you have made all your choices for the week, press the triangle button to get back to the main recruiting screen (the one with the US map on it). Press the start button to begin recruiting. You will be given the option to advance one week, advance through all the recruiting, or cancel. You will want to select advance one week. The game will then take a couple of minutes (surprisingly fast actually) to process all the information for the week. At the start of the new recruiting week, you will see a screen listing any players who have committed to you. You've got these guys and you can now use those recruiting points on other players. Once you exit the signed screen, press the circle button to get a quick overview of your recruiting status. You can now see how many players have committed indicated by a number in the commit column. Also, you can see if players have signed with other schools. Here's how. Let's say you have recruited 25 players. So, your available scholarships are 0. At the start of week 2, you have 4 players commit to your school, but you also have 3 available scholarships. Those available scholarships are for players you recruited who signed with another school. Any player you recruited who has not committed to any school will still be listed under the offered column and holds one of the available scholarships. So, in this example you have 4 scholarships committed to players, 18 scholarships for players you are still pursing, and 3 scholarships that have not been offered. At this point, you repeat the recruiting process. You can look at the current target report to see the status of your recruits. Pressing select will show you the observations the coaches have made from the previous week. Players who are now listed in gray have committed. In place of the top three schools, you will see the school they committed to. There are five weeks of recruiting to complete. As you view the reports each week, you will find changes. More players may start to take an interest in your school as time goes on and their chances of making their "dream" school get fainter. Remember, your weekly recruit points stays the same even as the number of recruits goes down (due to signings). So, make sure you max out the recruiting in the later weeks. After the fifth week of recruiting is signing day. You will be shown the class evaluation screen that lists the schools in order of their recruiting class. It will show the number of players signed by caliber (5 - 1 stars) and the total numbers. This report is a way to see how successful you were in recruiting top players compared to the rest of the NCAA. Of course, it does not necessarily reflect on the future performance of that team. 6. Training Go back to the off-season schedule and select training. This will close the recruiting process, but you were done anyway. Training is a time where your players can improve their skills. This is all handled by the game. Afterwards, you can review a report to see in what areas a player has improved. As you review each players training results, a star will appear on the screen to give you an idea of how much improvement was made. The ratings are minimal, moderate, and breakthrough. The brighter the star, the more they improved. There will also be one player per team with the tag "Most improved". Which, as it implies, means this player made the most improvement during training. 7. Cut Day After training is complete, it's time to trim the fat. Select cut players from the off-season schedule list to begin the process. You will then be brought to a listing of your team players. You can sort by position using L1 and R1 to determine who will go. You will see the attributes of the player to help you make your decision. On the right side of the screen, you will see the number of players, by grade, you have at the selected position. When you first enter the roster screen, this box will show the total number of players you have. Since you can only have 55, whatever the number of players you have over will have to be cut. Here's one piece of advice for cutting. You are playing a game. Loyalty means nothing. Cutting players have no effect on your prestige or the schools. Also, this is why I make notes of players who haven't played. I will cut them first because I'm not losing anything. So, keep the most useful 55 players you have. Once you've made all the cuts, press triangle to get back to the schedule. If you have too many players, you will receive a message that more players need to be cut. The computer will offer to do it for you, but I would pass on that option. No idea how the game determines who to cut. 8. Depth Chart Now you are at the final step. It's time to decide who is playing. Again using the same screens you've seen countless times, you can select your starters and backups for each position. Use the L1 and R1 buttons to scroll through the positions. Pressing up and down on the d-pad will highlight the players in the depth chart. Pressing x will select that player and bring you to the lower list. Here you can pick which player to place in that slot and press x to place him in that slot. One thing I've noticed is that the computer tends to rank players by their overall rating. Most noticeably with linebackers. I've often found that I have a middle linebacker not in the starting lineup because the right outside linebacker has a better overall rating. It's up to you if want to leave things this way. Just make sure you check all the positions. The default choices aren't always the best. You can adjust the depth chart at any time. So, if you want to skip this step for now, you can go back later and make your adjustments. 9. Start Season The off-season is done. The last thing to do is select the start next season button. This will generate the new schedule and you will soon be ready to start the new season. 10. Redshirts Before you play or sim any games in the new season, there is a Pre-Season option that you can select from the main dynasty menu. Here, you can redshirt players and change your non-conference schedule. Now that you have your roster, you can determine whom to redshirt. Redshirtting a player means that the player will be inactive for the year but will not lose a year of eligibility. So, if you have a senior quarterback who is going to lead your team in the upcoming year, you can redshirt the kid you just signed and be able to use him for a full four years beginning the following season. Unlike reality, you can redshirt any player who has not been redshirted. Players with a (RS) next to their grade have already been redshirted once and cannot be selected. Players listed in gray have already been redshirted. Players in blue are eligible for redshirting. Players in red are redshirted this season. Using the same roster screen you are used to by now, select the player you want to redshirt and press x. This will place a redshirt icon next to the player's name. When you are done, press triangle to exit. After the players are redshirted, they are removed from the depth chart automatically. So, this is one reason why you may want to wait until now to set your depth chart. 11. Schedule Changes New to this year's game is the ability to adjust your non-conference schedule. Selecting this option from the pre-season selection brings you to your team's schedule. On this screen, there are two boxes. To the left is the schedule you cannot change. Games you cannot change are any conference games or any traditional rivalries, such as Notre Dame - Boston College or Miami (OH) - Cincinnati. To the right, is a box of the games you can change. This box shows every week of the season that does not have a conference/rivalry game scheduled. These are the games you can change. You can also move your open weeks around. To change an opponent, select the week you want to change. This will bring you to a pop up window of all the teams available that week. Remember, every team has their schedules set and will not be available if they already have a game selected. To select no game for that week, select "Open", which is at the top of the list. When you are changing your schedule, there are no restrictions other than if a game is already scheduled. If you are coaching Prairie View A&M and you want to schedule Florida State to play at your field, you can if you select a week that they do not have a game. So, you can use this to play higher ranked opponents to increase your own prestige (when you beat them), weaker teams to pad your stats, or for whatever reason you want to. After you select an opponent, the circle button will toggle the game between home and away. 12. Go Get 'Em! You can make changes to your schedule or redshirts as often as you like until you play or simulate the first game of the season. Once you do that, everything is set and cannot be changed. So, once your roster is set and your travel plans are made, it's time to get on the field and being a new quest for college football glory.