WhatIfSports User Interview: bhazlewood From WhatIfSports.com image

User Interview: bhazlewood

Q&A with bhazlewood

Although he's been successful as both a Gridiron Dynasty and Hardball Dynasty player, bhazlewood is probably best known for GDReports.com, which is dedicated to user-generated content for the Gridiron Dynasty community. Bhazlewood was kind of enough to discuss the site and his GD philosophies in the latest User Interview.

bhazlewood Gridiron Dynasty Overall Records
Seasons Record Conf. Champs Natl. Champs
1381,191-723 (62.2%)100

bhazlewood Hardball Dynasty Overall Records
Seasons Record Playoff Record Division Titles Championships
7628-506 (55.4%)22-19 (53.7%)51

WIS: Who is bhazlewood?

bhazlewood: He's a 50-something Windows Server Admin currently living in the Dallas area with his wife and cat.

WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?

bhazlewood: I was searching online for computer baseball games, and came across SimLeague Baseball while it wasn't exactly what I was searching for, it looked intriguing enough to give it a try.

WIS: Which of our games have you played? Which do you prefer?

bhazlewood: I've played SimLeague Baseball, Hardball Dynasty, and Gridiron Dynasty. They all offer something different, but I've got more seasons (and $$$$) invested in playing GD, so I suppose that would qualify it as the "favorite."

WIS: Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

bhazlewood: I'm a big reader, when I have time fantasy, history, biography for the most part. I'm a computer game junkie, playing mostly RPG's like Dragon Age and Strategy games like Civilization.

Roger Staubach and Tom Landry Roger Staubach was bhazlewood's favorite player, while Cowboys head coach Tom Landry earns the honor of sitting at his dream roundtable discussion. Staubach was the first player to win both a Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl MVP.

WIS: Which five people, past or present sit at your dream roundtable discussion?

bhazlewood: Jesus, because I would love to hear what he thinks about what his movement has become (and if indeed he ever intended to start a movement). Thomas Jefferson, a "hero" of mine growing up, who I've grown to appreciate even more as I learn more about him and his times. Leonardo da Vinci, who may have been the most multi-talented man who ever lived. Tom Landry, the iconic Dallas Cowboys coach who exemplified class. And the Beatles which I realize is cheating because they shouldn't count as one "person".

WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?

bhazlewood: Yes, but not well. I played baseball a bit, and some basketball. I had all the tools to be a star, except talent and coordination. :)

WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?

bhazlewood: Growing up a Cowboys fan, I absolutely worshipped Roger Staubach. I've had (and have) favorites in each of the four major sports, but none have ever been close to the level of Staubach.

WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?

bhazlewood: I would love to spend a summer going to baseball games all across the country, trying to see a game in every state and of course hitting all of the MLB stadiums.

WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?

bhazlewood: Winning my first (and so far only) championship, in the Boggs HBD World.

WIS: In the GD Yost world, you are currently the coach of Wake Forest and your job status is "in jeopardy." Do you think you can turn things around? Do you ever regret leaving San Diego State, where you won three conference championships in four years and finished with a top 35 WIS rank three times?

bhazlewood: By the time this is published I will probably be the EX Wake Forest Coach. I've not been successful at D1A at all, honestly. Most of the SDSU success was built off the team that maddiesdad had put together. The one team I regret leaving was Lane in Warner especially when I was competing with dewagne at Kean year in and year out for the CC. I lost more of those than I won, but it was a team that I was able to have consistent success with, and the competition was great.

WIS: What is GD Reports? When and how did it come into existence?

bhazlewood: The GD Reports web site was conceived as a single source for all kinds of user-generated content for Gridiron Dynasty. At the time about 3 years ago there were a few people that did recruit ratings and published them as forum posts, a couple that had web pages as "sub sites" of their personal pages, plus a few tools were floating around like the maddiesdad spreadsheet. I thought it would be great if we could put everything in one place. It never really worked out like that, although gt_deuce did publish his ratings there for a while, and yatzr hosts his terrific tools there now.

WIS: How did you develop your G.U.E.S.S. recruit and roster rating system?

bhazlewood: When I first started playing, ardikus was publishing his recruit rankings, something that everyone really looked forward to seeing. (I understand paranoid0 and leppykahn published even before that, although they were before my time.) Anyway, ardikus apparently got fed up with some complaints he had been getting, and abruptly stopped doing them. Since he had published his formulas or at least MOST of his formula, as he had a mysterious "work ethic modifier" I just copied those and ran the results for the worlds I was playing in. At the time, I called them the "Not the Ardikus Rankings" for lack of anything more creative. Over the years, with the input of coaches who are a LOT better at this game than I have ever been, the formulas have been tweaked, and two or three times have gone through major overhauls. They aren't perfect, never will be because there are too many factors I can't see, but I think they are a better than decent method of evaluating your current talent. A lot of coaches use them when comparing teams, so it would seem they think so also. I still need to improve QB and P/K factors into a team's overall rating there's no way that recruiting the #1 QB in the country should LOWER your class rating, but currently it will.

WIS: What logistics are involved in pulling GD world data and posting it to your site?

bhazlewood: The data gets pulled via a "scraper" tool yatzr wrote for me - once he added multi-threading to it, it takes about five minutes to pull the raw data, which gets saved in a CSV file. (Prior to the yatzr tool, I used a series of screen imports into Excel - it took MUCH longer to pull down the data!) Then I run an Excel spreadsheet that, through a series of VBA macros, imports the file, applies the formulas to the players, calculates team and conference scores, and then splits the data up into four CSV files, one for each of the tables in the application. Then I import those files into the MySQL tables on the web site, update the world home page with new links, and tweet/post that the new reports are available.

Editor's Note: Follow bhazlewood on Twitter: @BobHazlewood

WIS: What is your strategy for recruiting? Does your G.U.E.S.S. system or any other formulas factor into your recruiting?

bhazlewood: I have tried a number of different strategies over the years, including (while at a D1AA school) just waiting for all the big boys to sign their recruits and go get their backups. LOL. But to answer your question, I tend to use the ratings formulas as a broad first sweep when looking at recruits, then I take a look at factors not in the formulas work ethic and potential to prune the list a little more. The ratings are an aid to recruiting for me, but I don't rely on them exclusively.

WIS: What is your strategy for setting depth charts? Does your G.U.E.S.S. system or any other formulas factor into your depth charts?

bhazlewood: Actually one of the places I think the system excels IS in helping set depth charts. Assuming the ratings reflect actual performance and that's a big assumption I think they help a lot, especially on the defensive side of things in juggling your inside and outside personnel.

WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your GD teams?

bhazlewood: To be honest, I couldn't tell you about a single player on any team ever once the season is over, it gets dumped from my brain.

WIS: How much time do you spend on your Gridiron Dynasty team? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?

bhazlewood: During recruiting season, I probably spend a couple of hours a day depends on how many players I need. In season, after I have set my depth charts, I pop on to check the results, and maybe tweak a game plan.

WIS: If you were to give advice to a new user, what would it be?

bhazlewood: Be patient. The game takes a while to *really* learn. Read the forums, and then find a mentor. Most of the information in the forums is good, but some is just flat out wrong, so a mentor can help you separate the diamonds from the trash. And, a mentor will spare you the embarrassment of announcing your great new discovery in the forums that is either (a) wrong, or (b) "common" knowledge already.

WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Gridiron Dynasty?

bhazlewood: The social aspect getting to know some of the coaches I am competing against.

WIS: Least favorite?

bhazlewood: Those times when I lose (or win) a game, and have no idea WHY.

WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?

bhazlewood: An expanded play-by-play that gives some insight into what causes a play to succeed or fail. Was a pass incomplete because of a bad throw, or a dropped ball, or a great play by the defender? Did a RB break a tackle to make a big gain, or was it due to a large hole opened by the OL?

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

bhazlewood: There are far too many to name, but I'll highlight a few dewagne, who gave me invaluable advice when I was just getting started; cydrych, gt_deuce, and joannes3000, who inspired me to make the GUESS reports look better and deliver more information; and the late great steinrat, who always offered helpful advice, even when it was covered in acidic humor.

WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?

bhazlewood: In my dreams, I'd be a slick fielding, high average second baseman, but based on reality I'd be a punter that even the horrible AC would be embarrassed to sign.

WIS: Thanks for all that you add to WhatIfSports.com and the Gridiron Dynasty community, bhazlewood.


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