WhatIfSports User Interview: mcbethbr
When mcbethbr plays Gridiron Dynasty, he puts the emphasis on Dynasty in a way few can match. Whether it’s his Georgia team in Dobie (11 championships), his Penn State team in Warner (16 championships) or his USC team in Heisman (18 championships), mcbethbr has mastered the art of building a perennial contender.
|Gridiron Dynasty Overall Record|
|Seasons||Record||Conf. Champs||Ntl. Champs|
|Gridiron Dynasty World Records|
|World||Overall Record||Conf. Record||Conf. Champs||Ntl. Champs||Current School|
|Leahy||223-46 (0.829)||126-30 (0.808)||5||2||Colorado State|
|Warner||840-45 (0.949)||479-17 (0.966)||44||25||Penn State|
|Heisman||1,178-92 (0.928)||693-32 (0.956)||64||24||USC|
|Dobie||826-111 (0.882)||484-63 (0.885)||35||11||Georgia|
|SimLeague Hockey Overall Record|
|Seasons||Record||Playoff App.||Finals App.||Stanley Cups|
WIS: Who is mcbethbr?
mcbethbr: My name is Ben, and I’m a married father of two girls. My family and I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a beautiful port city on Canada’s east coast.
WIS: How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com?
mcbethbr: I’ve been a WIS member for well over 10 years now. It was a TSN.ca advertisement ("Gretzky, Orr or Lemieux?") that first brought me to the site, and, predictably for a Canadian, it was the hockey sim that first caught my attention.
WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?
mcbethbr: Most of my spare time is spent with my family. We camp as much as we can in the summer around the Maritime Provinces and have only scratched the surface of the scenic places to visit. In the few spare moments away from fiddle lessons for my older daughter and trips to the playground with my younger daughter, I enjoy reading a good book.
WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?
mcbethbr: I just finished reading "Unbroken" which was a fantastic book, so Louis Zamperini would be on the list. He had an incredible life and would help keep things light. C.S. Lewis is my favorite author, and my daughters are learning to love his writing as well as we read through the Chronicles of Narnia, so he’d be there as well. John is my favorite of the gospel writers, so he would be at the table. I’ve always found the conquest of South America an incredible chapter of history, and William H. Prescott’s books have been my window into it, so he’d be there. Finally, Winston Churchill, whose statue I walk past on my way to work, and whose book "The Gathering Storm" is a must-read, and is still very relevant today, would round out the table.
WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?
mcbethbr: I played baseball from little league through the end of high school. I mostly played center field.
WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
mcbethbr: All the players from the ’92 and ’93 Blue Jays World Series Championship teams. Watching those games as a boy are some of my best memories, sports or otherwise. Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar and John Olerud were especial favorites of mine. I also am a fan of Ken Griffey Jr. who was the best center fielder at the time I played. Once on a trip through upstate New York we stopped at a corner store for gas and I bought a pack of Upper Deck playing cards and found a signed Ken Griffey Jr. card inside. That was the highlight of years of baseball card collecting.
WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
mcbethbr: If I could convince my wife and kids to enjoy watching a full game of playoff baseball with me I would be content with that. I used to use the calm play-calling of Buck Martinez to help put my kids to sleep, but they’re both too old for that now and keep pestering me to change it to the Disney channel.
WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?
mcbethbr: There are several moments that stand out. Once bigbuzz from SLH sent a gift certificate when my daughter was born, and that meant a lot. Winning a Tournament of Champions in Baseball was really neat too. My favorite hockey memory was the regressive draft league we had going a few years back.
My favorite GD moment was the D1A title I won at Tulsa in Warner. I was down 17-6 at the half and scored 9 unanswered points in the 4th to win 25-24 over a great coach (cougdawg). The winning play was a field goal with :04 seconds left. A close second was the great user-generated content we had going for Warner D3 including swooft’s Blind Squirrel Poll with commentary on the contending teams before each season.
WIS: What is your strategy for recruiting?
mcbethbr: I try to keep a pipeline of players at all positions in order to avoid placing underclassmen in key roles. I try to anticipate who the best players will be as Juniors and Seniors, after factoring in growth and potential, and target those guys. After a few years of playing GD I remind myself not to get too stressed out over recruiting or recruit battles. In the past I took it too seriously and may have missed out on opportunities to make friends, and I regret that.
WIS: What is your strategy for game planning?
mcbethbr: On offense I set a plan during exhibition games that I think optimizes the use of my best offensive players. After a tweak or two it basically stays the same all season. On defense I adjust before big games as necessary.
WIS: Do you use the same playbooks, recruiting and game planning strategies across each of your teams or do you have different philosophies for each?
mcbethbr: There are slight differences for each. For recruiting the key is knowing your area and where you hold distance advantages. For playbooks, my three pro-set teams are similar, though the formation settings change every season.
WIS: The bulk of your D1A titles have come at USC (18), Penn State (16) and Georgia (11). How have the big-school titles differed from your championship teams at Memphis, Tulsa or Colorado State, where you won one title each?
mcbethbr: Well Memphis and Tulsa were stepping-stone programs. I liked the challenge of a mid-major, but once I met my goals there I was happy to move on since it’s definitely tougher to recruit well at a non BCS school. The amount of time, planning and thought that went into those mid-major titles dwarfs the effort I put into keeping my current teams running.
WIS: Your Penn State dynasty in Warner has won 16 of the last 19 national championships. How have you managed such a sustained level of success? Is non-conference scheduling important or can your team handle all challengers?
mcbethbr: Penn State has the best recruiting location in GD, and I have been successful at getting the key pieces I need there without over-extending myself. You have to schedule a couple of the best teams each year, but it’s not necessary to have the five top elites on your non-conference schedule to claim one of the top two rankings at season’s end. It’s much more important to avoid being dragged down by a SOS-killing mid-major Sim AI school.
WIS: You recently rejoined the Leahy world after a +50-season absence and currently coach at Colorado State. Are you at CSU for the long haul or are you targeting any other schools?
mcbethbr: I’m open to a move, but sometimes it takes quite a while for the right school to open up.
WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your GD teams?
mcbethbr: There’s one player who really stands out, Adrian Clark from my CSU National Championship year. He was the #1 overall rated recruit and had incredible potential. Check out how he ended up.
WIS: How much time do you spend on your Gridiron Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?
mcbethbr: Recruiting is the only major time demand for GD. I spend about a half-hour before recruiting making a plan, and an hour or two over the course of recruiting carrying it out and making adjustments. Gameplanning and setting up formations also requires some time each season.
WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?
mcbethbr: To have fun and make friends on the site. It helps, both to improve your game and make friends, to ask questions; most coaches are glad to help out and give pointers.
WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Gridiron Dynasty?
mcbethbr: Following players as they develop.
WIS: Least favorite?
mcbethbr: Trying to recruit on vacation!
WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?
mcbethbr: I’m going to make an appeal to adjust the in-season scouting reports that coaches receive. Currently they’re useless because they don’t contain the info on the recruit’s potential. These three or four in-season scouting reports should have the same information in them that assistant coach scouting reports do during recruiting. Each school could receive a few unique scouting reports based on their positional needs and the ranked prospects in the area during the season, and this would add a layer of strategy to the recruiting plan for next season.
WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?
mcbethbr: cebrake is the gold standard among GD coaches and has been a good friend for several years. I value his encouraging sitemails and our discussions on the game. mikesy is another great coach and friend. slid64er is a real gameplan innovator and wily recruiter, and has definitely pushed me to get better at GD to keep up. I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas with many other coaches over the years and have celebrated along with them as they’ve gained success.
Although I’ll have to leave out some very deserving names, I’d like to recognize an additional group of great GD coaches who make the game challenging and fun including: cougdawg, ozzzball19, mrhands17, treyomo, esf0242, gt_deuce, mpmershon, dravz, ebbets55, bullfrog333, ez37, jibe, arcadecowboy, ebel331, pete_61, and tomcecil. Thanks to these coaches, and all the other coaches that make GD fun to play.
WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?
mcbethbr: I’d be a prospect in Hardball Dynasty. I’d be a good fielder, but a work in progress at the plate.
WIS: We thank mcbethbr for sharing with WhatIfSports.com and the Gridiron Dynasty community.
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