WhatIfSports User Interview: vhoward415 From WhatIfSports.com image

User Interview: vhoward415

Q&A with noted Gridiron Dynasty user vhoward415

We recently contacted vhoward415, to discuss his recruiting beliefs in GD, the Clemson Tigers, and the key to championshp success.

WIS

Who is vhoward415?

vhoward415

A 40-year old accountant living in East Tennessee. I'm married, have 2 kids in college (1 of whom is now married).

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

vhoward415

I saw Bill Simmons from ESPN mention it in his column a few years ago. I tried it and have been here ever since.

WIS

327 seasons of Gridiron Dynasty and 27 different Hardball Dynasty seasons. What attracted you to each of these games, and which do you like best?

vhoward415

College football is my favorite sport I'm a diehard Clemson fan. I tried Gridiron Dynasty and was hooked immediately. I didn't know what I was doing in the early going, but you learn by trial-and-error. I was also fortunate to learn some of the ins-and-outs from Deandg (who is now retired from GD). I made other friends like dwhit34 and mjmage, and from conversations with those guys and others I got better at the game. I tried Hardball Dynasty when it was first offered, and it was so much more involved than GD that I nearly quit. Now, I find it VASTLY superior to GD and, even though I'm still not very good at it, I find it much more enjoyable than GD.

WIS

Besides recruiting for GD and managing your Hardball teams, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

vhoward415

I have very few hobbies other than GD. I do like various video games (PC and Xbox 360), but outside of that I'm a lazy sort of guy.

WIS

What is your most memorable sports moment?

vhoward415

Attending the Florida State/Clemson football game in 1988 when the famous punt-rooskie play occurred. Even though the Tigers lost, it was the most exciting sporting even I've ever attended.

WIS

Did you play football (or any other sports) growing up?

vhoward415

I played football for 3 seasons when I was young, and 1 season of baseball. Sadly, I did not have the athletic ability to continue as I got older.

WIS

Who are your athletes all-time? Currently?

vhoward415

Nolan Ryan was always my favorite baseball player, and Michael Jordan was my favorite basketball player. I never really had a favorite football player there were many I enjoyed watching, especially for the Cowboys since I'm a Dallas fan. Currently there aren't any that I follow closely, although I do admire Josh Hamilton with the Texas Rangers for his ability to come back to the sport after so many problems off the field.

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

vhoward415

Attend the national championship in football the next time Clemson plays for it (I can dream!). I watched the first one on TV back in 1981, and I hope to live long enough to see the next one in person.

WIS

What is your favorite WIS moment?

vhoward415

Winning the D1 title in Heisman with Clemson (twice so far).

WIS

As a coach in GD would you compare yourself to any past or present coaches, like in terms of some of your philosophies?

vhoward415

I like to follow what Deandg did in the early going - recruit guys who can block well, tackle well, and be unpredictable in gameplanning. Sadly, as my interest in GD has waned, that last part has as well.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of GD?

vhoward415

Knowing that no matter how bad a team you take, you can make them playoff or bowl eligible within 3 to 4 season (and keep them there).

WIS

Least favorite?

vhoward415

I hate the fact that team practice means so little. I've mentioned to JConte numerous times about my dissatisfaction with this aspect. I think teams who practice formations should get a little bonus and teams who do not practice formations should be penalized. I think penalties and turnovers (especially fumbles) are excessive. I also don't like the recent changes to the position switch formula. I think the rewards points should be tweaked to resemble what it was in the past. I understand trying to get people to move up, but the game is called Gridiron DYNASTY if a coach wants to build a dynasty at lower levels, let him do it and give him points than he gets know. You can lower them eventually, but right now it goes into effect too soon, in my opinion. I'd also like expanded rosters and the ability to redshirt more than 3 per season.

WIS

You have 81 conference championships and 6 national titles. What do you believe is the biggest key to GD success?

vhoward415

Fill all your scholarships, recruit good OL (blocking/strength), good DL (tackling/strength), good RBs (elusiveness/strength). Get guys with good stamina if possible, and redshirt 3 guys every season (or more if it changes in the future).

WIS

What is your approach to recruiting?

vhoward415

At D1, pick the guys you want within 250 miles and go heavy on them from the beginning. Make generous use of campus visits. At lower levels, you can do the same without campus visits, but be careful not to battle too much. Also, you can always find a suitable replacement nationwide (and for much less) than trying to battle everyone, losing, and taking walk-ons.

WIS

How do you go about setting your depth chart and game plan?

vhoward415

Normally I just put the guys in order on the depth charts and go from there. If I have promised a start or playing time (which I don't like to do), I take that into account in the setup. I generally use 2 or 3 generic gameplans and seldom, if ever, change them during the season.

WIS

Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?

vhoward415

Dwhit34, mjmage, ddingo, plague, cravedogg, deandg, and many others have earned my respect.

WIS

What is your ultimate goal in Gridiron Dynasty? Have you achieved it?

vhoward415

I have won national titles at every level, so I have achieved pretty much all I need in the game.

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