So NCAA Football 14 drops tomorrow and we’ve decided to hit you with a couple of dedicated pieces to help you excel when you start your Dynasty. Coach Skills are new to NCAA Football 14 and allow you to improve certain attributes of your coach by acquiring XP for multiple on-field and recruiting activities. XP and thus skill points can be earned by your Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator and Offensive Coordinator. Your HC has two skill trees related to Game Management and Recruiting while the DC and OC have skill trees dedicated to their respective specialties. Your Coach Skills are cumulative and will follow you across seasons and teams, though you will have the option to reset them at the end of each season. To unlock a coach skill, you need a skill point. Skill Points aren’t easy to come by and require quite a bit of work and therefore making the best decision possible will allow you to maximize your hard-earned points. I’ve been playing the game for over a week, trying out different combinations and these are what I recommend. Are there alternatives depending on your playstyle, absolutely, but for my money this is how I would spend my points. Making the right choices with your skill points if like me you prefer and challenge and normally start with a 1 or 2 star team. A solid skill tree for your coaches will give you an even better shot at winning those tough games against teams you have no business even being in the same building with. So here we go.
Your first two choices will be Anti-Freeze and Road Warrior. Anti-Freeze reduces the probability of your kicker being iced while Road Warrior reduces the possibility of your QB getting rattled on the road. This one is a no brainer, Road Warrior is the choice and since you need to unlock all three levels in this section before opening the next, go ahead and use your next two points to fill this one out and get to the next level. At the next level, you have the choice of Matchup and Setup Artist. Matchup allows you to find mismatches while Setup Artist reduces the amount of yardage needed to achieve a “setup play”. This is another no brainer to be, Setup Artist is the choice here. In NCAA Football 14, the playaction pass actually works, particularly when its “setup”. In games against a tough opponent, being able to quickly setup a key play can be the difference between winning and losing.
To get to the third level you’ll need to upgrade at least 10 ranks, so after maxing out Setup Artist, go back over and Max Out Matchup and finally unlock one level on Antifreeze. This will unlock the third level at which point you’ll have four options to choose from: Clean Laundry (reduced CPU penalties), Big Game (Team starts hotter the bigger the game), Light A Fire ( calling a timeout focuses players, either bringing cold players back to normal or making them hot depending on level), and Coachstradamus (learn your opponents plays and play types). At this level it starts to get tougher, but the first one I’m going for is Big Game. The reason I go Big Game here versus light a fire is that by the time you’ve acquired enough points to unlock this skill, you’ll probably be pretty late in the season so this will be of more benefit. From here you can bounce back and forth between boosting Big Game and Light A Fire. Then you’ll probably want to go Coachstradamus and after that just keep unlocking in whatever order you like until you can unlock the final level in this tree, Clutch. Clutch gives your team increasing levels of hotness in the 4th quarter of close games. You’ll need to unlock 20 levels before you can unlock this and you’ll probably be well into your second season by then.
Even though Power Recruiting streamlines the process a lot more, recruiting is still quite the battle. At the start of this tree you can either unlock Locksmith (gets you back into locked out recruits) or Scouting ( allows you to discover more of a prospects TRUE talent). As you won’t get locked out of recruiting battles until mid to late in the season, it makes sense to max out Scouting. Trust me you’ll want to know the true stats of your recruits as soon as possible, no point in wasting valuable recruiting points on bust or players whose actual rating is much lower than their star ranking would suggest. In this case, after max this out you’ll unlock the second level and have your choice between Royal Treatment ( you get a boost the week a recruit visits), The Opener ( you get more recruiting points the first half of the season, The Closer ( you get more recruiting points the second half of the season). All the really good stuff in this tree starts at the next tier but you have to unlock at least 10 levels so feel free to choose them in whatever you like. Once you reach the third tier, that’s where the magic starts to happen. You’ll have the choice between Pipelines ( less players needed from a state for a Pipeline), Letter Of Intent (increased recruitment points during the offseason) and Kitchen Sink ( you can assign more points to a recruit above the initial 500 max). By far the most valuable one here is Kitchen Sink, sometimes those few extra points can be what you need to land that prized recruit. As before you’ll need to fill out most of this tree before you can unlock the top-tier, so I’d recommend filling out Letter of Intent and Pipeline and then working your way back down until you’ve unlocked the final tier, Insta-Commit ( increase the chance of an instant commit when you offer a scholarship. Insta-Commit is very valuable once you finally unlock it and max it out.
The coordinator trees are actually the two that will allow you to have the most impact on your players individual on the field play and thus it will take you much longer to unlock them than your HC points. At this point depending on your playstyle you can choose to focus on one coordinator or the other and try to max it out faster but I like to stay balanced. Your first choices are Road Closed (players get off blocks better), Charge (players pass rush moves get a boost) and Recharge (players get a bump to injury and stamina. The nice thing here is that to unlock the second tier you only have to unlock three levels, so you can max one of them out or split a point between each. I choose to max out Road Closed, really wanted to shut the run game down, which when you are playing with a weaker team can be hard to do against 4 and 6 star teams. Once I opened the second tier, I went immediately to Shutdown which improves the man and press coverage of your DBs. Again on weaker teams this is usually where you get exploited against stronger teams. No Fly Zone improves Zone coverage. At this point you need to unlock 10 levels to open the next tier so go max out Shutdown and Charge, which are very effective when combined and will be even more devastating the better the quality recruits you start to land. After that take you pick on the last point. The next tier is Ball Burglar ( defensive players get bumps to their catching attributes) and Tackling (improves tackling, pursuit and hit power of all defensive players). You’ll need to unlock 20 levels to unlock the last tier so depending on your playstyle, I’d max out Ball Burglar, Tackling and then whatever else you need to get to the top-tier. At the top of this tree is Raw Talent ( defensive players get bump in speed, agility, acceleration and strength) and Pure Instinct (defensive players gain a bump in awareness and play recognition). These two are both valuable, so fill them out as you see fit based on your team weaknesses and playstyle.
Our last and final coach skill tree is that of the Offensive Coordinator. If you are starting with a weaker team, if you can’t stop them, maybe you can outscore them. Here you start off with your choice between Up Tempo (players get boost to injury and stamina and Ball Security ( players get bump to carrying attribute). As long as your RB isn’t extremely bad fumbling shouldn’t be a huge problem if you cover up when you are about to get tackled, so max out Up Tempo. This unlocks the next tier which has the choices of Cannon (improves QB throw power and throw accuracy), Air Traffic Control (improves the catching attributes of your backs and receivers) and Daylight (improves break tackle, spin move and elusiveness of your backs and receivers). To get to the next tier you need to unlock 10 levels so I’d recommend maxing out Air Traffic Control and Daylight and then coming back with 1 point to Cannon. At that point you unlock the next level and you’ll have to choose between Bulldozer (improves impact blocking for the O-Line) and Great Wall (improves pass blocking for the O-Line). I’d personally go Bulldozer here as a solid impact block can be what gets you to daylight in the run game and the slight bump in pass blocking may not make that big of a difference. As always, to unlock the last tier, you need to unlock 20 levels, so based on your team skill and needs, max them out in any order you want. At the top of this tree is Athlete ( improves player agility, strength and acceleration) and Mathlete (improves player awareness). Honestly, the top of this skill tree is a bit of a let down but by this point you should be well on your way to build one heck of a dynasty.
So there you have it folks, that’s our guide to what we think is the best path to develop your coaches skill trees. I already know what some people are going to say about the rather big boost that some of these skill trees provide but EA Sports did a really good job on keeping this really balanced. It will take you quite a while to max out any of these skill trees, I’m talking several seasons. From a pure talent perspective, you might get their a little faster with a 5 or 6 star team but you won’t max any of these out in one or two seasons I can promise you that. There are a total of 54 Head Coach levels and 27 levels for each coordinator. If you want to have a complete Coach skill tree across each of the areas you are going to have to put some serious time and work in and personally I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As I said earlier, this isn’t the end all be all and you can develop this any way you want. Hit up the comments and let us know what path you’ve taken or plan to take.
Note: This guide assumes you are using the default settings and haven’t adjusted your coaches starting level or progression speed.