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Old 09-15-2012, 04:22 PM   #1
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Loose Poker Analogy

Today I'm playing UMass at home (11-minute quarters, All-American). 14-0 lead after one; force a three-and-out to begin the second quarter; things going swell. Looking for a 77-6 final or something.

I go three-and-out; UMass gets the ball with 9:14 remaining in the half.

They go on a 13-play TD drive aided by three defensive penalties. 14-7.

So now 6:40 remaining in the half. 14-7. Against UMass. At home. Stadium is dead silent. I note to myself: "Wow, there's some real pressure to score here."

5 yard rush by QB-Robinson. 9-yard completion to WR-Roundtree. Incomplete pass. 2nd and 10 with 5:52 left, I force a ball to WR-Gardner and it gets picked. UMass ball, 14-7, 5:46 on the clock.

I'm still not panicked; defense has been mostly stout. They roll an 8-play drive at me. FG.

#12 Michigan (1-1) leads UMass (0-2) 14-10, 3:47 remaining in the half.

If I still want that slick 66-10 beatdown, I'm going to have to really sink my teeth in: on-the-fly strategy adjustments, timely substitution packages, timely blitzes, no playcalling mistakes, no turnovers, no three-and-outs, no allowing points (!), etc.

It's a tall order. I'm going to have to be aggressive, but not overly so (already five penalties). I'm going to have to stop the pass completely, which will invariably create gaping holes in the running game (AI Run Block & RB Ability at 100).

What do? Complain about the AI? Complain about "gameplay"? Neither of those words mean anything to me; it'd be like complaining about the cards I'm being dealt in poker.

* * *

This is about making the right playcalls at the right time, gentlemen. And it's about strategy settings (and indirectly about penalties). Instead of thinking in terms of what's "realistic" or what's "sim," try thinking purely in terms of what's strategically correct based on every play to that point.

When you play, REMEMBER EVERY PLAY. Make a STRONG MENTAL NOTE of EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED on EVERY PLAY and pick your plays and strategies based directly this cumulative information.

I'm talking about playing TIGHT, or even TIGHT-AGGRESSIVE like you would in poker; not playing "sim." Forget "sim."

If you call an offensive play and are not 100% conscious of whether it's the first, second, third, fourth or fifth time you've ran it, and are not moreover fully conscious of what happened each time you ran it (and I mean did the LDE come free? Did the FB miss a block? Did you miss a wide-open receiver or hole? All three? DO YOU REMEMBER? WERE YOU EVEN LOOKING?) you're off your game and deserve whatever you get. LT is getting dominated, LG is blue: do you run plays their way and try to "warm them up" or work the right side of the field to avoid them? If you're not thinking about or noticing this stuff you also deserve whatever you get.

Did you know on defense you should shift your DL based on where the LB's point, and shift your LBs based on where the DL points? Sometimes the safety will point to a gap and it's on you to move into press coverage or "show blitz" or shift the LBs to fill it. Are you ignoring these gestures? Are you even watching for them? Let me guess, you ignore this just like you ignore strategy settings in general, amirite? Then you wonder why there's no strategy to the game and why your defensive backs get smoked over the top three times a game.

I mean this game is stacked to the brim with opportunities for strategic decision-making. My god there are several on every play, not including the playcall itself.

I just don't know why most can't seem to see it this way. Forget real football. Forget what you see on TV. Play it like poker. Be interesting. Be difficult. You want to be able to say "My defense is like a goddamn mirage, 11 guys in your face, you never know who's gonna lay the wood, but it's usually four of them." In other words, bring AA, KK, AK and QQ to the party ON EVERY PLAY. Slack off and play rags all game you're guaranteed a sloppy, unfun, ugly game, with a final score of 46-36 where you allow 412 yards passing & 32 yards rushing.

PLAY a good game, and CALL a good game, you get stats like this in the first half of a game against UMass:

Michigan/UMass

Score: 14/10
First Downs: 8/8
Total Offense: 152/136
Rushing: 45/65
Passing: 107/71
Total Yards: 239/193
Penalties: 5-55/4-40
TOP: 9:38/8:42

I just don't know what more you guys need to have fun.

Cheers, all.
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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Re: Loose Poker Analogy

I see exactly what you are saying here and I absolutely love it. However I have a feeling most of us have a hard time keeping this kind of focus when we play.

For example when I plug in madden and watch that ray lewis intro, man I'm ready to absolutely take someones head off and play a game. However as the game keeps on going I lose focus, probably about 30 percent of my plays I don't even consciously notice that I run them. The problem with madden and ncaa is for me there is not enough to keep me thoroughly interested in a full game unless we are talking playoffs or bowl games, and at that the immersion by ea sports is awfully done.

When I play mlb the show it amazes me how immersed I am in 9 innings of baseball, every pitch I know what is going on and the scenery and announcers make it even more fantastic. I just wish madden and ncaa had this same effect on me.
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