Gridiron Dynasty aficionado gt_duece graciously served as the subject of WhatIfSports.com's most recent User Interview. With 36 National Championships to his credit, gt_deuce ranks as one of the most successful players in the history of Gridiron Dynasty.
|Game||Seasons||Record||Conf. Champs||Ntl. Champs|
|Gridiron Dynasty||145||2,042-281 (87.9%)||86||36|
WIS: Who is gt_deuce?
gt_deuce: gt_deuce is a married father of one (so far) in his 30s. As my ID implies, I am a graduate of Georgia Tech and now employed at a large tech company as an Electrical Engineer.
WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?
gt_deuce: I found out about WIS from my old co-worker, gaheel84 (a very good coach who now plays under xatomsmasher). He used to come to my cubicle to talk about sports and would occasionally tell me about this football simulation and how his teams were doing. Eventually, he got me to sign up and began the knowledge dump of what he knew over to me. It helped me ramp up much more quickly than I would've been able to on my own. Through the many years, we co-coached together and shared ideas about the game, bouncing techniques and discoveries off each other.
WIS: Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?
gt_deuce: I'm an avid slow-pitch softball player, though I've had to scale way back from my single days. I also enjoy many outdoors activities - mountain biking, hiking, camping, trail running...pretty much anything that involves getting outside the city and into nature. And I really like to read all kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, though I don't make as much time to do so as I should.
WIS: Which five people, past or present sit at your dream roundtable discussion?
gt_deuce: Probably John Muir, noted outdoorsman and explorer; John Krakauer, outdoors journalist and mountain climber; Ansel Adams, famed photographer; my dad's father, to learn about my family history; and 18-year-old ME, so I could give him the perspective on life that I now possess, in hopes that I'd know better how to take advantage of opportunities that were placed in front of me before life got more complex.
WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?
gt_deuce: I played baseball from the time I was five all the way up through high school. I also ran track and cross-country. In college, I played intramural softball, which I continued to play in rec leagues after my college years. I wanted - badly - to play football, but my parents wouldn't let me, fearing that I would get hurt.
WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
gt_deuce: In football, I really enjoyed watching Barry Sanders run the football - you never knew when another all-time moment was going to happen. In baseball, being a centerfielder most of my life, I really like Andruw Jones - his style was so effortless, it almost looked like he wasn't trying, until you noticed that he caught a ball you thought was uncatchable off the bat.
WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
gt_deuce: In high school, a buddy and I devised a plan to visit all of the MLB stadiums in our lifetime. I've visited a small handful (Turner Field, Minute Maid, Fenway, AT&T), so I have a long way to go. Turns out, my buddy actually just completed them all this past year.
WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?
gt_deuce: My first NC - Elizabeth City (D-II) in Bryant - was great. I couldn't stop smiling for like a week, as ridiculous as that might sound. Also, I really had a lot of fun running off five straight NC in Stagg D-II, using a completely balanced offense, during a time when a lot of people (wrongly) said that you had to run-run-run the ball to win this game. And my NC run at Penn State in Dobie was a real high point. I know that's three, but they're all very close in my mind.
WIS: You coach a D-IA team, LSU, in the Dobie world and a D-II team, Virginia State, in the Stagg world. Why have you chosen to compete at different levels?
gt_deuce: I think each level in this game brings its own unique set of challenges and strategies. In D-III and D-II, for instance, there is a lot more emphasis on player development than at the upper two levels. But at D-IA, of course, you've got the highest level of competition. So, I stay at D-IA in Dobie to compete in a tough world at the highest level, but I stay at D-II because I love the blend of player development and competing against coaches who have a better idea of what they're doing (and, who am I kidding? also because I have this OCD need for my Virginia State team not to fall into anyone else's hands).
WIS: Although you consistently field a very competitive team in both of your worlds, championships have been less plentiful in recent seasons. Do you credit that to increased competition, changes to the game or another factor?
gt_deuce: In Dobie, it was a combination of increased competition, the changes to the game and an increasing bout of overall boredom that was creeping in. At D-II, it was just the game changes, really. Under the old engine, I had a real good idea of what I wanted to do and how to do it. Additionally, I knew how to respond to poor performance by my team (or great performance by my opponent) with gameplan and/or roster changes. With the new engine, I've still got a lot of things that I haven't figured out and, I think, it's just not possible to control your team to get the results you want like it was before. I think too much coach control was taken away with the update and I'd really love to see much of it brought back. For instance, passing distributions and unique depth charts per formation (aside from OL and, perhaps, QB).
WIS: What is your strategy for recruiting?
gt_deuce: That really depends on the level that I'm recruiting from. At D-III and D-II, it's so much about player growth that I do extensive scouting and try to find the players who will be the best by their SR season, using some formulas that I've developed over time. At the upper levels, I still do this, but just not as insistently. And if I'm at an Elite in D-IA, I pretty much just look out and see who I want and who I can realistically get, then set my list and go for it. I will still do some scouting and make some trade-offs if a couple of players are close, but at that level, it's pretty easy to get players who can step right in and contribute.
WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your GD teams?
gt_deuce: I don't know if I should be confessing to this, but I keep spreadsheets of all my teams, with a master spreadsheet for each level that has ALL my players at each position. It's this personal records-keeping that helps me hold some interest during the times when I get bored. But I'll try to answer this question without looking back at that...
The one that sticks out to me the most was a LB on my old Stagg Georgia Tech team - Jeff Wilson. He was one of the best players I've seen in my entire time here. In my personal records, he was the best LB I've ever had at D-IA by the end of his SO season (no redshirt). He still, to this day, is the #1, #2 and #3 best LB I've ever had. Just a complete stud in every category. Behind him, I really like having a RB named Kenneth Riley in Stagg D-II at Virginia State. He holds the single-season rushing yardage record and was pretty much unstoppable. That was back when you could run the ball. :)
WIS: How much time do you spend on your Gridiron Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?
gt_deuce: Oh, during recruiting, I spend quite a bit of time on my teams, but in-season, it's not much. Five minutes to check the score at the half, five minutes to change (if I have changes to make, which is very rare) and five minutes to analyze the results of the game. If I'm really bored at home, I'll do some poking around to see where my deficiencies are and start forming a plan for recruiting for the next season, but that's only if I'm rebuilding or feel like I've developed a glaring hole in my roster somehow. If you're experienced, you could conceivably spend less time than this and still be wildly successful, but if you're learning the game, then you're going to need to spend a lot more time...that is, if you want to be successful. As with most things, you get out roughly what you put in, especially in the early-going.
WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?
gt_deuce: Study the teams that are winning big and winning often. Study them top-to-bottom, inside-and-out. Then study them again. Look at what they're doing with their recruiting, with setting their rosters, with formation match-ups, with tendencies, with scheduling, with practice time. Try to figure out as much as you can. Then, if you're really ambitious, sitemail some of the coaches who are doing things you want to do. For passing teams, sitemail coaches who've won NCs throwing it all around. Or the same for running or balanced approaches. You may not get all the responses you want, but I'm willing to bet some would dispense advice that you could use. You might even find one or two that will pretty much tell you everything they're doing, to get you pointed in the right direction.
WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Gridiron Dynasty?
gt_deuce: Rebuilds. I've got a rebuild alias that I'd like to keep under wraps (there's no world overlap with any of my teams under this ID) and I'm having a lot of fun with those teams.
WIS: Least favorite?
gt_deuce: Gameplanning, funny enough. That should be one of the one or two favorite things, right? But it's just tedious, especially when I don't have the controls that I used to have to make things happen.
WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?
gt_deuce: There's so much, but I think passing distributions brought back is my top.
WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?
gt_deuce: Since he was my mentor, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention gaheel84 one more time. It was like playing against a mirror when we used to go head-to-head, so those match-ups were always the most challenging. Other than that, I really have a laundry list that could go on for days. I should mention my GD Google Group buddies (you know who you all are). My coaching battles against slid64er in Yost, fotman in Stagg, lbrown6 and cardsfankane in Dobie and my old battles with gaheel84 in Stagg stand out.
WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?
gt_deuce: I'd be in HBD. I'd be an outfielder with off-the-charts range and glove, very good arm accuracy, but average arm strength. I'd have occasional power, but mostly a singles hitter, who steals a lot of bases.
WIS: Thanks to gt_deuce for your time and contributions to WhatIfSports.com.