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Thinking Man's Guide to Madden
TAFKAC'S GUIDE TO RUNNING

TAFKAC's Guide to Running

To have a balanced attack, you simply have to run the ball. It is not enough to air it out every play. To be successful, a team must have an effective running attack.

Why run? There are several reasons why you should develop an effective running game

1-It keeps the defense honest. Defensives will not have 5 or 6 defensive backs deep to stop your passing game. The will have to respect your running game even with 3 and 4 wide sets.

2-Ball Control. Nothing is more frustrating than an offense that can get a lead, hold on to the ball, get first downs, and chew up the clock. A solid running game will help you control the clock and manage the game.

3-You set up the pass and the play action. There is an old football axiom "Pass to set up the run and run to set up the pass." Solid play calling with a good run/pass mix will keep a defense honest a good signal caller will keep a drive a defensive coordinator nuts. In Madden 2001, the play-action is better than ever. A solid running attack will catch the defense, napping.


What are the elements for a successful running attack?

OFFENSIVE LINE

The offensive line can make or break your running game. A good line can make any back look good, but a bad line can make your star look like a bust. The key stat is Run Blocking. Make sure that your guys have plenty of this stat. Try to get get guys who have at least 85 or better. Guys with low RB should be doing some other type of work (such as bullfighter). Also make sure that your dancing elephants have plenty of size (300+), strength and awareness. Again, you want guys with at least an 85 Strength and an 80 awareness.

RECEIVERS

One overlooked facet of the running game are the wide receivers and tight ends. They can make a huge difference when it comes to the outside running game. The match-ups between a wide out and cornerback can make the difference between a 3 yard loss and a 20 yard gain. Denver's Eddie Mac is probably the best at this. If you play on franchise mode, you may want to pick up a extra wide out who has a high run blocking.

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THE RUNNING BACK

ALL PURPOSE BACK (Faulk, James, Davis)-These guys can do it all. They can run inside, outside and catch the ball. The can add a lot of versatility and variety to your offense because they are so skilled and dangerous.

PHAT BACK (Dayne, Bettis, Anderson)-These guys will pound it down throat and smash your teeth in. They can break tackles and gain lots of extra yardage with their foward momentum. On the down side, they don't have alot of speed, so don't expect many long gains.

SCAT BACK (Dunn, Barber, Kaufman)-These mighty mites pack a punch. Because of there speed and quickness, they excel in the open field. Give 'em an inch and the will take 80 yards. Because of their lack of size and power they are better at running away from tacklers instead of at them.



SELECTING A PLAYBOOK

According to Coaching Football by Tom Flores, you have 3 type of running plays: Power, Speed and Finese. I use the Saints playbook because they have a good combination of those plays.

POWER RUNNING PLAYS-these are plays in which you want more players at the point of attack than your opponent. (Off-Tackle and HB Lead)

SPEED RUNNING PLAYS-plays which try to get the ball carrier past the line of scrimmage before the defense can react (Dive, QB Sneak, Qk Pitch)

FINESE RUNNING PLAYS-plays which are designed to confuse the defense (Draws, Counters, Reverse, Option, the Double Lateral)

Here are 17 basic running plays from the Saints playbook. Each are designed to give you positive yardage.

Singleback-HB Belly ST (Normal and Twin TE), HB Pitch (Normal and 4WR)

I-HB Lead, HB Toss (Normal and 3 WR)

Strong-HB Blast, HB Toss Wk, Qk Toss, Off Tackle (3WR)

Weak-Off Tackle, HB Lead (Normal and 3 WR) Qk Pitch, Power Toss (3WR)

Pro-Qk Toss (3WR)