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Main / Discussions / Coaches Corner - No.1 - Solana_Steve Search Forum
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Poster Message
posted: 2012-07-19 09:47:40 (ID: 48361) Report Abuse
For a brief background explanation of this, please read Here
I thought that if this was going to be done, it should be done properly, therefore it makes sense to start with one of the very top Managers.
Luckily for me (and for all of us), Solana_Steve agreed to give up some time and has provided a superb set of answers to my (embarrassingly low quality and unimaginative ) questions.

Anyway, just a quick bit of background, and then we can get to the real meat of the article.

For those of you who don't know, Solana_Steve runs the San Diego Biltzkreig, this team can be found Here in Galaxy 1.1

For those of you with a G*I account, The Blitz can be found Here

and for those of you with no G*I account (you just don't know what you're missing !), The G*I version of The Blitz can be found Here

OK ... interview is available now (see Below)

Interviewer (in Bold) is SH8888 , Interviewee (not in Bold) is Solana_Steve.

Enjoy your reading ......

Last edited on 2012-07-19 10:41:26 by sh8888

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posted: 2012-07-19 10:37:33 (ID: 48365) Report Abuse
You've been here since the very beginning of this game. How has RZA changed since the early days of September 2011 ?

I think the biggest change has just been the development of the economy. When I started, nobody had built out stadiums, so there wasn’t much money in the game. Now, everyone has max stadiums, but pretty small payrolls, so there is lots of money out there. Eventually, I think salaries will reign in available cash.

It’s changed quickly too. At the beginning of last season, I bought one of my best players for ~$45M and it was a really big purchase for the time. Now, he’d probably sell for two or three times that at least.

Which RZA teams/managers would you consider to be your main rivals ? ... and how intense is that rivalry ?

I have a pretty good divisional rivalry with Bellj (Heidelberg Hippos). I beat him in the playoffs last season, but then he beat me twice this season. Playoff game coming up this weekend!

Pete is also in the Galaxy 1.1 league and I seem to play him every season and in the playoffs too. So that’s a pretty big game too.

Of all the currently active NFL players, which 3 players do you rate the most highly ? And why ?

These aren’t necessarily the best players, but the ones that peaked my interest:

1. Wes Welker – this guy just is always open. I find him amazing.
2. RG3 – mark my words, Robert Griffin III will be incredible in the pros too!
3. Troy Polamalu – myself, not having the thickest head of hair, I’m a little envious of his mane. Great player too!

One of the RZA topics that seems to run and run .... for O-linemen, do you consider speed to be relevant ? Do you train speed ? ....... same for O-Linemen with Agility, do you consider it important ? Do you train it ?

Agility – I’ve trained it a little for O-linemen. I’m not sure how much it does. I’ve always been confused by the definition in the manual of agility and then how that resolves with the wording of Pass Blocker special trait.
Speed – I’ve never trained this for an O-linemen. I have considered it in picking positions on the O-line. Not sure it makes any difference though.

This one is primarily "tips for rookies" .... but think of it this way ... If you were to go Bot today, and start from fresh tomorrow .... having been playing this game for some time, which 3 things have you learnt that you would definitely do ? And which 3 things would you definitely not do ? (so, we might be talking .... definitely build the stadium fast, definitely not sell any Draftees .... lol ... it's up to you !)

1. Build stadium ASAP.
2. Train PC as fast as possible.
3. Experiment with the playbook and see what works and what doesn’t.
4. Don’t be afraid to change players positions based to strength/speed caps.

1. Don’t throw games.
2. Medium/Long passing – just be careful throwing longer passes with a newbie QB.
3. Don’t overspend on a single player transfer. As a newbie, you’re more than a single player away from being a good team. Build your stadium instead.

Not sure if I was a newbie team if I’d sell a talented draftee for big cash and build out my stadium immediately. It might be worth it.

Over at G*I, you've won the American Top Division (season 8), Regional Cup (Season 9 & 10), Iron Bowl (Season 10), and are currently 2nd in the Top Division ........ what are your aims for the current season (Season 11) in G*I ?

I guess I don’t really have any more great aspirations with G*I, I’ve pretty much built a decent team and am playing them without much thought or change these days.

What are your views on MOTY ? (here's a clue ... if you say "it's great", I'll Edit out the answer .. lol ! .... only joking )

I think the playoff change was good. I’ve only played MOTY once or twice, it’s pretty expensive in terms of PC drop. I’m more curious about relaxed…but I haven’t experimented with it too much.

How important is Intelligence for your players? Are you looking for intell all over the pitch or just certain strategic positions ? Do you stick to "an intelligence tree/pyramid" (like Sfniner08 does) ?
If so, what type of values are you aiming for ?

It really depends on the position. Obviously I want good intelligence at QB and MLB. Other places, I worry about it less. I’m not familiar with the “intelligence tree/pyramid”, so I guess I’m not specifically using it and I don’t have specific values that I’m aiming for (the higher the better).

Editor's Note:- for reference, Here is the 'intelligence tree'

What are your views on the imminent new G*I engine ? If height/weight is introduced, will your team be at an advantage/disadvantage ? If Rushing becomes feasible in the higher divisions will this affect you ?

I hesitate to say anything negative about G*I because I’ve enjoyed playing the game and participating in the forums for a long time now. I’m not really sure when a new engine will come out or what it will be like. I think expectations are pretty high…I’m concerned people will be disappointed.

Obviously the current game engine is lacking in terms of run-pass balance and also overall tactical play. It would have been better if they could have added features incrementally and gotten feedback and made improvements iteratively.

I've just been looking at your team HoF ratings (for Season 4 Galaxy 1.1), Rushing overall - 4th ,Rush TD's – 7th, Sacks – 11th, Tackling – 26th, Pancakes – 13th, interceptions – 5th, Field Goals – 5th, Catching TD's – 14th, Passing - 17th .
Things are looking a bit lightweight in the passing department ....... what are your views on the passing game in RZA ? Do you think a team can be a very high-level team with a pass-based offense ? If/When the Engine is rebalanced to be more in favour of the pass will that be an advantage/disadvantage for SD Blitz ?

In RZA, running seems to work better at lower levels and early on, so I’ve been primarily a running team so far. Also, I haven’t had a great QB.

One place that RZA needs to improve is the medium/long passing simulation. I think Pete will improve this (I know coding all this stuff takes time & testing), but right now, it suffers a little bit from being too much like the G*I model. For example, I’m not sure the passing zones/break two tackles for a TD model is really a good approximation of how real football operates. Currently, there are too many long TD’s and long Interception returns.

As you're the reigning Iron Bowl champ in G*I, it would be remiss of me to miss the opportunity for some G*I questions :-
What do you think of the DarkWing formation ? Have you used DarkWing in the past ?

I think the DarkWing is effective because the shortcomings in the game engine. If there is no penalty to continuously throwing the ball to a single great WR on every play, then you might as well play the probabilities. Of course, that would never work in the NFL.

No, I’ve always had 2-3 good receivers and tried to spread the ball around to make up for imperfect consistency.

I've just had a very brief look at your G*I team ..... one or two questions :-
I was intrigued to see that you seem to use a Strong Safety (you often line up with a 4-3-4 formation, with a FS/C and SS/L) .... just wondering, why the Strong Safety when the vast majority of teams that you play in the Top Div and AFLC will use no Rush whatsover ? .... why not FS/L,FS/R as quite a few of the other top teams seem to favour ?

I think my 2nd safety was build more like a SS. I don’t know, has anyone proved a double FS formation works better?

Editor's Note :- "Proved" is a powerful word that I'd like to stay away from for now, but here is the original quote about Free Safeties (made by TFS in his Coaches Corner) ..."I nearly always play 2 Free Safeties spread out, left and right. In this engine, I have tried many, many different formations, as well as scouted many different players playing in formations and against formations. I can say with great confidence that a Safety played as a Free Safety will defend the pass better than a Safety played at Strong Safety."

A manager joins G*I today, he wants to win the Iron Bowl .... what 3 pieces of advice would you give him ?

This is a tough question to answer, because I started so long ago and getting to the Iron Bowl is a very, very long term goal now that the game has so many teams (probably 7-10 seasons). I guess I would go with these suggestions, but they may change completely if the game engine is change:

1. Build out stadium ASAP
2. Get top talent players and start building world class QB and receivers.
3. Get 11 talented defenders and focus on pass defenders.
4. Manage salaries prudently.

I guess that’s four.

What is your view on Talent in RZA ? Is it like G*I where only 4.5* or 5* Talent will do ? Or do you think the different financial/wage balance in RZA makes Talent less important ?

Well, talent doesn’t seem to mean much right now. At some point, low-talent guys will be less valuable because the skill cap for them is a bit on the low side. I think ultimately wages will govern skill levels more than talent level with a few exceptions (maybe a stud QB etc.).

The RZA ratings for SD Blitz are :- Pass – 48.2%, Rush – 46.9%, Pass Defense – 58%, Rush Defense – 55%, Overall – 51.1% .......and then we get to the elephant in the room .... Special Teams – 42.3% .
So ... what's going on here with the Special Teams ? Has your Kicker got a special trait of "wooden leg" ? ...... I've just scouted the Kicker and the Punter, it looks to me as though you're training both the Kicker and the Punter to be 'double-skilled' i.e. The Punter to be able to Kick (and vice versa) ... would you say that Special Teams is a weakness of your team ? Or do you just view Special Teams as not very important in RZA ? or is your Special Teams a work in progress ?

Yeah, I’ve been a little bit of an idiot with my kicker/punter training. My initial guys, McKinney and a couple of useless punters had low TW and didn’t train real quickly. But I think I have things figured going forward with Rosenberg, Batchelor and some guys in the academy. They aren’t great, but will soon be competitive.

In RZA, I’m not sure the kicking/return game is particularly important. FG kicking seems to be the only really important part of special teams. Kicking, punting and return averages don’t seem to vary by more than a few yards right now.

Ok ... just to lighten the mood .... a few rapid-fire questions, just choose the one you most prefer :-

Coca-Cola or Pepsi-Cola ?

I don’t drink soda…especially cola.

Jerry Rice or Calvin Johnson ?

Grew up a 49ers/Raiders fan. Got to go with Jerry Rice.

Lasagne or Ravioli ?

Okay…this is tough, both are delicious. Maybe Mom’s Lasagna…that was pretty good growing up on.

The Beach Boys or The Mamas and The Papas ?

Lived in Southern California the last 24 years…Beach Boys!

Real Madrid or FC Barcelona ?

I realized he played for Barça first, but I remember Luis Figo on those Real Madrid teams. Madrid for me.

I love all of Spain though…went to Barcelona, Madrid and Andalucía on my honeymoon – loved everything but the heat. If you haven’t been to Spain – go!

Ferrari or Lamborghini ?

Grew up with Magnum PI…Ferrari!

Las Vegas or Atlantic City ?

West coast guy….Vegas!

Gruyère cheese or Gouda Cheese ?


Champagne or Prosecco ?

Champagne, Prosecco, Cava…I like it all. Usually don’t drink French wines/spirits…either Californian or Italian or Mexican.

Michael Crabtree or Darrius Heyward-Bey ?

I think Crabtree will eventually come around and be a pretty good NFL receiver.

Editor's Note :-

New York or London ?

London has so much to do plus the Olympics. Not a big fan of the East Coast. London it is!

Just looking at your Roster History, and I'm guessing that some of these maybe had different original positions and have been converted since .... Of the 9 players that you took in the Draft, their positions were OL , RB, SF, FB , DL and 4 LB's ...... so, ignoring the LineBacker fetish .... what is your Draft strategy ..... 'Best player Available' ? Draft according to Roster needs/Roster weakness ?
Which positions will you be targetting in the forthcoming Draft ?

In two of those drafts, I was picking last and 2nd to last so I got stuck with two guys I’d never have picked regularly – I think that was the OL and FB. Also, in the 1st draft, those positions listed aren’t their original draft positions, because I got two Gunners in my first draft.

I’ve always tried to pick up a franchise QB, but no luck drafting towards the end. Usually, I try to go with best player available, but excluding some positions like punters, kickers etc.

I haven’t really started ranking for the upcoming draft. I’m debating the value of drafting passing related players – WRs and CBs or if the game will continue to be "three yards and a cloud of dust".

Your new QB looks interesting, he's been promoted from the YA to Seniors .... I've just scouted him .... would you describe him as "a work in progress" or is he ready to play ? Just out of curiosity ... do you think his Intell,Speed and Agility are maybe a bit on the low side?

Mckenna is lacking in a lot of areas, but was better than my original QB Carson Ashcraft. I think the future is Etre Sárvári…he’s the Hungarian RG3! Been able to survive without stellar QB play so far.

As you seem to have built this QB from scratch in the YA, did you just build him with standard training points ? or did you use most/all of your bonus points to 'super-pump' this QB's passing and vision ?

I pumped up his passing & vision a bit, but mostly from scratch. I view him more as an interim QB, not the future of the franchise.

In RZA, what are your preferred formations for Rushing/Passing ? And for defending the rush/pass ? Do you ever use any of the so-called 'gimmick offenses' (run continually over the Left-End etc) ??

I change offensive formations a lot. I don’t really have a favorite. I’ve never run left all game long. What other gimmick offenses are there?

On defense, I play a lot of 5-3-3 because you need to stop the run first. Starting to play more pass oriented defenses now as people are getting stuffed at the line and throwing more.

Any final comments?

Just one more thing…because I come from a coding/programming background. I just wanted to say that what Pete has done is outstanding and even more amazing is that he continues to improve upon it in rapid fashion. Just look at the development rate of TOG. I know you or me or others may think there are shortcomings here or there in the game, but running something like this takes a lot of work and knowledge and expense. I would hope people would enjoy the game as it is and be patient that not every single issue can be addressed immediately or in the manner you think is required.

Thanks very much indeed to Steve for his full and frank answers, and for taking the time, inconvenience and effort involved.
On it's way to you is a nice piece of Gruyère, plus a scale-model toy of Michael Crabtree (complete with realistic non-working hands).

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posted: 2012-07-19 10:54:40 (ID: 48370) Report Abuse
excellent work guys - much kudos to you both - look forward to reading more of these. very enjoyable reading.
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Europe   pete owns a supporter account   pete is a Knight of

Joined: 2011-09-01/S00
Posts: 20602
Top Manager

posted: 2012-07-19 11:07:56 (ID: 48373) Report Abuse
Great story, thanks to both...

And an extra Cheers to Steve and his work on, the Baseball Sim.

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posted: 2012-07-19 11:13:03 (ID: 48374) Report Abuse
Very Nice Indeed! Are you going to start a new thread for each coach corner or use the same thread? How often?

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Europe   pete owns a supporter account   pete is a Knight of

Joined: 2011-09-01/S00
Posts: 20602
Top Manager

posted: 2012-07-19 11:16:13 (ID: 48375) Report Abuse
As told before, I put that into an extra section of the blog as well.

I guess we should have an own thread for each "corner"...and I will create an overview-sticky once we have at least 2 "corners"...
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posted: 2012-07-19 11:18:14 (ID: 48376) Report Abuse
Good read, keep it up

There's one thing that bugged me though, why are there questions about TOG?
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posted: 2012-07-19 11:35:35 (ID: 48379) Report Abuse
Great initiative, very fun to read but IMO too many questions about G*I
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posted: 2012-07-19 11:37:38 (ID: 48381) Report Abuse
I think because he has a lot of success
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Toni Gorilla
posted: 2012-07-19 14:54:59 (ID: 48390) Report Abuse
Great read. Well done.

I agree with others there should not be (so many) questions about G*I in future interviews.
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