The moves and how to use them-
Speed burst- (X) Yes, speed burst is a move, at least to me. More specifically, how and when you change speeds is a huge factor. If you immediately hit X and speed burst after taking the handoff, youre hurting yourself most of the time. The cpu players base their angles on what speed youre traveling. If your speed changes, and at the right moment, theyll be left grasping at air. Rarely will large, vertical running lanes open up that you can just saunter right through riding speed burst like your old lady. Theyre usually at an angle, and a good rule of thumb is to hold off on speed bursting until you see your angle and your blocks and get to an advantageous position on the field. On Madden level, players are VERY good at getting off of blocks against an average lineman or blocker, so sometimes you have to disguise which route you want to take or when youre going to commit to that route with the speed burst.
Stiff arm- (L2/R2) The stiff arm is a very important and useful move. The best thing that sometimes happens is you stiff arm a guy, he makes a feeble wrap-up attempt, and then immediately falls down because he couldnt get close enough to really wrap you up. This hardly slows you down. What happens more often is that the opponent is pushed away momentarily and you gain a little distance to either run out of bounds or try to somehow lose the defender. I often times just take the extra couple of yards and keep going where in the same general direction, either by stiff arming him again or just trying to run him over. Trying to make an extra move instead of a natural move often times results in a fumble. Again, there are so many variables that there isnt a clear rule. The only reason I bring is up is that I very rarely use the stiff arm inside the tackles. I usually use it after Ive broken through to the outside or down the field somewhere, and Im usually near the sideline.
Juke move- (R1/L1) A staple of my game on the PSX, I dont use the juke move as much now because I tend to be more of a no-nonsense runner on the PS2. Some of that is because I can juke guys with speed control and just the D-pad more efficiently than I can by using this move. You might get better at it than I am, with practice. Im still learning it, and I use it when I remember its there. This move is pressure sensitive. It can result in three different types (to my count) of jukes including a quick side-step type move when you might get stuck behind one of your own guys or something like that, to a full-fledged juke that can take you sideways a bit. Its really important to use the D-pad in conjunction with this move. Youll notice that just hitting the button hard wont actually juke you that far, youll just go through the motions. Start heading sideways into the juke before hitting the button, and it will increase your sideways movement once you push the button. Practice faking one way and then beginning to move the other and THEN using the juke, and so on and so forth. Again, there are infinite variables to what you can do to a defender with this move. Still, my favorite way to juke a guy is to give a quick shoulder fake with the D-pad and then speed burst a slightly different direction.
Hurdle- (triangle) The blocking and defensive bear dance is dynamic on the PS2. One some plays your guys are five yards downfield mauling people, leaving scattered bodies in their wake. The guys that fall often have their legs or arms up in the air as they fall or even afterwards, and trip you probably 65-75% of the time if you run straight over them. This makes the hurdle necessary so you dont miss on a chance to make the most of a big play by tripping (its so pathetic when you forget to hurdle and waste good blocking). Its pretty quick up and down, but practice anyway to get the feel of whether or not youll have time to use it and keep going. Anytime you have a couple of spare feet to run around a guy without losing too much time, take that route.
Spin Move- (circle) This is another pressure-sensitive move. The harder you push the button, the quicker and harder your guy will plant and the quicker hell spin. It also makes you more likely to get your player injured on that play, but as long as you dont use it and get hit squarely, you wont get hurt. Just be very aware of how it works and practice it. I like to slow down, screwing up the defenders angle, and then spin off of him. Also works after youve just hit speed burst and maybe want to cut a different direction. As long as they dont have an immediate bead on you it has a chance to be effective by breaking tackles. If they have you sized up, youll go straight down. Unlike in the PSX 2000 version, spin move wont change your speed by itself. If you want your player to stop and spin, you have to first stop him and then spin. You basically control everything about it.
Summary- Cant let an article end on a description of a move, so Ill restate the most important point I think there is: Plan your drafts and base your free agent acquisitions on the type of running team you want to have if its really important to you; dont just trade up from a low pick to draft a HB. If the passing game is more your thing, draft accordingly there, too. But like any good running game in the NFL, succeeding at running here takes a certain dedication, at least in video-game terms. Keep at it.