Bullfrog333 the man

DKC: Thank you, Jeremiah, for your willingness to sit down with me. First off, tell us a little about yourself.
Bullfrog333:  I just turned 40, have a beautiful wife (Tracey) and 2 wonderful, energetic boys named Scott (5) and Zach (3). I own my own investment firm Bauman Financial Services here in Valencia CA - about 20 miles North of LA.   My family is my priority, although my wife sometimes thinks WIS is...lol.  I coach all of my boys’ sports teams. My youngest, Zach, was so excited to finally be enrolled in a sports team of his own (he had to sit and wait, watching Scott, for most of his young life, waiting to have a sports team of his own).  He literally ran out onto the soccer field before we could tie his shoes and wouldn't come back...lol.

DKC: that’s great, I…
Bullfrog333:  Scott, my oldest, is finishing his 2nd year of baseball (yep, no tee for him, he can hit 'em on the fly already). We are about to start our 1st year of youth basketball of which a friend and I will be the co-head coaches.   Additionally, both my boys can swim. This is something I'm particularly proud of since swimming is how I paid… DKC:  Do tell…  Bullfrog333:  …my way through college.  I swam at and graduated from California State Northridge where I received All-American honors in 2 different events and just missed out on a third.  I place nationally in the mile (my coach’s idea to enter me in that one - not mine) and the 200 yard Butterfly.  I just missed out on All-American honors in the 400 yard IM - my breast-stroke was just not fast enough.  After college and my (DKC in his mind “boy this guy can talk”) swimming career, I was a sponsored Tri-Athlete for awhile.  Basically that means that all my equipment and race fees were paid for but I did not receive any pay.  It was fun while it lasted but I knew I had to settle down and find a career.  
As I was always interested in numbers and money, I decided to work in the finance industry.  Before I became a manager of other peoples assets I was a Nasdaq Market Maker. Basically this is (DKC in his mind “this guy practically interviews himself”) a fancy name for a stock trader for a large firm - the last being Banc of (DKC in his mind “I can’t get him to stop!”)…and the client wanted to buy a million shares I might say, "I'll sell you 250 at…(DKC in his mind “I’m dying… information overload… losing consciousness… help!)  Sounds like a great job and it was (although the stress level was a bit high) but the market sell-off of the early 2000's coupled with my wife and my desire to start a family back home (we were up in San Francisco at the time) led me to leave Market Making for good.  I took a year off and did nothing but play basketball and work on starting a family :).  After a year or so I got an offer to help manage a large book of business at Merrill Lynch. I stayed there for 5 years and then left to start my own company 9 months ago.
As a side note, having worked on the inside, it amazes me who many people do not understand how the markets REALLY work. As a general rule…(DKC in his mind “Navy’s loss to Arizona was painful… I hate playing on the road… CAL’s presence in the PAC 10 is a big pain in the butt…”)  ..Today I try to stay in shape . I recently lost 20+ lbs thanks to a bet I made with Jeff Mason (JMason187 and half of Bama12) and his brother Brian. They lost and I was happy to collect - even though my wife told me I shouldn't make Jeff pay. I was like, " Yeah, right..."...lol. I play basketball 3 times a week with kids half my age. I love scoring on them and then reminding them I'm 40...lol. And when they block my shot (can't jump as high as I used to) I ask them if they feel good about blocking their "dad". It's the same group of 40 or so guys that meet at the gym. We all know each other, get along and have fun teasing each other so it's all in fun.

DKC:  that’s great, and how about…
Bullfrog333: I forgot to add one other thing that is kind of interesting.  I play a lot of Poker. I've been successful enough to have to file taxes for the last few years. I've played in a WPT event and a World Series of Poker event.  The biggest tournament I've ever won (in terms of # of entrants) is just over 10,000 players. I would say I am an above average, bordering on very good, tournament player.  I would also say that I am a horrible cash game player...lol. I barely stay ahead in cash games. For those who play poker they will know that tournaments are FAR different from cash games - totally different mode of thinking. And yes, I am one of those numbers geeks that crunches the odds before every bet, raise or call...lol.

DKC (still scribbling furiously on his notepad):  what are some of your favorite foods?
Bullfrog333: Filet Mignon, Lobster, Sushi, French Onion soup.  Drink of choice would be Macallan 12 year old single-malt scotch with 3 ice cubes.

DKC:  …  (in his mind “oh he’s done”):  those are all excellent choices of food! Yummy!  How about your favorite music, books, and movies?
Bullfrog333: Music is tough as I like many different kinds. Some of my favorite songs are:
All Along the Watchtower – Hendrix, Jeremiah was a Bullfrog - 3 Dog Night, Breath - Faith Hill, Arms Wide Open – Creed, Imagine – Lennon, The way you move – Outkast, Don't get around much anymore - Harry Connick's version, Four seasons – Vivaldi, Rhapsody in blue – Gershwin, black coffee in bed – Squeez, in the air tonight lyrics - Phil Collins.  Like I said - very eclectic.
Books - wow, very tough. I have a TON of books at home. But I'll try and list some favorites.
Red Storm Rising – Clancy, The Wheel of Time Series (early on, later it just dragged), The burglar book series - Lawrence Block, A Brief History of Time – Hawkins, Cadillac Desert - the story of the aquafication of the west, The Harry Potter series, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk - P. Bernstein   A quick note on this book: This could be my all time favorite (yes, I know I'm a geek). Not so much for how it's written because it's fairly dry but for the ideas it pops into your head. The book is the story of how the idea (DKC in his mind “oh God, here we go again”) of risk and odds got started. If you think about it, someone, somewhere, sometime had to be the very first to lay odds. Or even contemplate odds.  I know this sounds very nerdish but I think that's amazing.  In a world where math was still very young someone figured out what 2 to 1 odds meant.  Started laying odds.  And started making money by using odds. The book shows the history of risk/odds and, to me, it's fascinating.. hmmm, this also may explain why I didn't get many dates before getting married. sigh.

DKC:  you sound like a true numbers' guy in every way!  No wonder you manage money and play Poker so well.  LOL  Let's switch gear a little bit.  What are some of your favorite sports team to follow and why?
Bullfrog333:  Lakers, USC, and all the teams my boys are on.
I love the game of Basketball - play it 3 times a week. I've been a Lakers fan since the 80s when I first came to CA.  I'm married to a USC grad, both my in-Laws went to USC and my boys are going to USC (although they don't know it yet ;)

DKC:  LOL.  You better start saving for those USC tuitions.  I gather you don’t root for UCLA basketball?  How about them Clippers?!!
Bullfrog333:  Yep, already got their college savings accounts open.  Nope and Nope

DKC:  As a Lakers' fan, do you think Kobe was the deserving MVP this season?  How about USC's loss to Stanford last season?
Bullfrog333:  I think Kobe has been the best player in the league for several seasons. I think his problems in CO, with Shaq and his personality have kept him from getting the award. I know this year he has been labeled as more of a team player but I think that's a misconception - although he may be getting along better with his teammates then in seasons past. Kobe has averaged 4.9 assists per game (this season he was at 5.4) every year since 99-00 except for 05-06 when he was at 4.5 (and if you remember that team that's an amazingly high number). Then people say, "well he's shooting less." Nope. Less then that 05-06 season yeah but since 00-01 he's avg about 21 FGA. This season he's at 20.6.   My point is that he is now on a winner that's "his" team, not Shaq's, and people are starting to like him. Yes, I think he's the MVP.  Let's not talk about Stanford...

DKC: Do you have any favorite athlete(s)? Talk about why you like him/her.
Bullfrogs333:  Favorite Athletes...hmmm. I suppose Kobe (although for a couple years there it was tough). Reggie Bush.   I tend to like guys who win and lose with class, even if they're not on my favorite team. Guys like Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. I was a big Matt Biondi fan back when I was swimming. He always kicked my a$$ but he was a class act and a nice guy.
My boys! The best, most athletically gifted 5 and 3 year olds of all time!!! Lol...Yeah, they're my favorite athletes.

DKC: you competed against Matt Biondi? That's pretty cool. I remember that name from the Olympics.   It must really make you proud to see Scott hitting a baseball. Judging from you said, he sounds like he's got a little more skill than his peers.
Bullfrogs333:  Well, I wouldn't say that because the team he plays on is all 6, 7 and a couple 8 year olds. He's 5. So, while he holds his own, he's not as good as some of the kids on the team.

DKC:  Reggie Bush, what an amazing athlete. Unfortunately, at least to me, my last significant memory of him was that stupid lateral attempt against Texas.
Bullfrog333:  arghhh...um, yep.

DKC: as a father whose sons are involved in sports, what important lessons would you like to teach them? How about later on, as they become older?
Bullfrog333:  Without question, it's sportsmanship. I try to tell them that people will remember you more by HOW you win and lose NOT if you won. After every competition (and both my sons are VERY competitive - I guess they get that from me) I make them say "congratulations" if they lost. And "good game" if they win. That's very important to me.  
I also try to teach them to enjoy the competition, not just the winning. Scott and I play video games all the time. One time Zach needed something so I paused a race Scott and I were in the middle of. When I got back Scott tells me he had won - he had resumed the game while I was gone. I figured this might be a good spot for a lesson so I said, "ok, let's play again." When the game started I did nothing. Didn't race at all. He looked at me and said, "Daddy, race!" I said, "Why? You like winning right? So now you'll definitely win." LOL...The look of puzzlement on his face was priceless but I think he got it a little bit.  It's a work in progress but it's something I cherish.

DKC: that's some good stuff you mentioned. I'm glad to hear that you are an active father who looks for opportunities to teach his children life lessons. Our society needs more involved fathers like that.
Bullfrog333:  Thanks.

DKC: do you have a philosophy with which you live your life? Additionally, near the end of your life, what would you like to have your close friends and family say about you?
Bullfrog333: The philosophy question is interesting. I think, without sounding too cocky or anything, it would be "expect to win/succeed". Win and success are interchangeable. That doesn't mean I'm going to win or succeed every time but I do think you need to go into anything with the right mind set. Put it this way - when I raced Matt Biondi I knew my odds were not good - he was just a better swimmer then I. BUT I went into every race expecting to win...even though I knew he was faster, stronger, taller, just better. I believe that expectation to win helped me swim some of my best races against him. Never beat him but swam some of my best times against him.   It's the same in business. I think you need to go into every business deal or venture with the expectation for success. Let me put it another way. If I have a 50 / 50 chance to win or succeed at something I truly believe I can affect those odds by my mind set. If I go in expecting to win I might increase my odds to 60 / 40 or even 70 / 30. If I go in just "hoping to do my best" I think my odds are 50 /50 AT BEST and probably more like 40 / 60.  
As for the funeral thing I guess I would like to be remembered as a good husband, a good father and a good friend.

DKC: Let me ask you one more question before we get to GD. According to you, what are some of biggest problems this country is facing? And what would be your solution?
Bullfrog333:  I think our addiction to oil and seeming reluctance to fund alternative fuels is a major problem. There are already many, many viable alternative power sources that simply do not have the funding to be viable. The one drawback to living in a free market society (and I am definitely a free marketer) is that alternatives face very high walls to usage. The high price of oil is having the unintended positive affect of making some of these alternatives financially viable (this is the main reason that I laugh when some people blame OPEC for the high price of oil) but there are still so many left by the roadside. We need some sort of funding, direct or indirect (tax subsidies), to further research and development.   In the same vein I also believe global climate change is a looming threat. See above for solution.
Another problem is the growing disparity of societal income levels. The only way a capital society can thrive is if the middle and lower classes feel they can "better" their situation. That optimism is beginning to wane and we should be wary of that. It all begins with education. We need to make education easier to achieve so that people can transform themselves, and thus our society as a whole, from production orientated to Information and service society.


Bullfrog333 The Coach


DKC: Now let's explore Bullfrog the GD coach.   How did you find out about GD?  I know you've talked about how you came up with your ID name, but please repeat the story for those who missed it.
Bullfrog333:  Jeff and Brian Mason (JMason187 and BrianLMason) got me into it. They were in it for a season or 2 before getting me in.  My name is Jeremiah. I was a young boy when the song "Jeremiah was a bullfrog" came out. I learned very early to either embrace the song, and thus the nickname, or get into a lot of fights in the schoolyard...lol. I actually love the song and embrace the nickname. My license plate even includes Bullfrog.

DKC:  brianlmason?  I guess that’s the lesser-known Mason.  I’ll let Jeff speak on that in his own interview. Do you guys exchange GD tips on a regular basis?  I was going to ask whether you have anyone in GD that you consider an ally/friend, one that you trust enough to run your team(s) in your absence.  In fact, who would you lean on to run your team(s) in your absence?  Is there a group of GD coaches that you are in regular contact with and that you exchange GD tips with?
Bullfrog333: To run my team I would say JMason, Fastec, Swooft and Kevin.   As for a group that I am in regular contact with the list is fairly extensive. There's a lot of them.  I basically ask everyone for ideas...lol.  I'm also part of Akua's elite coaches circle.

DKC: What is the best and worst part of playing GD? And what keeps you coming back for more?
Bullfrog333: The best parts are the competition and the camaraderie.  The worst part is that there are a few bitter people in forum and recruiting land...lol.   There are some changes I'd make, like more game control, but I wouldn't say those are negatives.

DKC:  yep, I know a few bitter people in the forum.  Some people might think I’m one of them.  LOL   Do you have anyone you considered a mentor, someone that you can attribute your success to?
Bullfrog333:  Without question it's Fastec. He really took me under his wing and taught me the ins-and-outs of WIS. I owe a large chunk of my success (especially early on) to him.

DKC: You have some excellent accomplishments so far in GD.  What do you consider to be your strength and which part of your GD game do you feel it's a weakness?
Bullfrog333:  My strengths are Roster management, game planning and scouting. My biggest weakness is NOT being able to walk away from a battle...lol.

DKC:  LOL, I find it hard to walk away from a battle too. I consider carefully whether to battle or not; once I'm in, I take it pretty far, sometimes to the detriment of my war chest. I think it's my pride...something silly like that. :)  Interesting you should mention roster management, what do you look for when researching a new team to apply to?
Bullfrog333:  RBs, OL, DL and open Roster spots. The number of roster spots is really the tie breaker but very important to me. I feel I can improve most teams I take over through recruiting but I need some cash to do it...lol. Of the quality guys who are already on the team I take a close look at their ST to see how much they can help. A stud RB with a low ST is useless. I'd rather have an empty spot.

DKC:  great minds think alike!  That would have been my answer too. Do you have any secrets to your success that you would never share with anyone else… something that you hold close to your heart?
Bullfrog333:  Lol...not sure I want to share all my secrets. Besides I wouldn't know what to share that most people don't probably already know. I will mention 1 little trick though - learn to exploit the multiple game planning options. Example: if your in a tie game at the half but you're not sure what O your opponent is going to go to in the 2nd half call 2 different D's (same O). One for the 3rd qtr and one to kick in when the 4th starts if you're down by 1 or more. I've actually won games against quality opponents by shutting them down in the 4th using this strategy.   

DKC:  interesting!  So you are in a way splitting your defense in two and hoping that if you guessed wrong at halftime, it will correct itself in the 4th quarter?  So rather be wrong for the entire 2nd half, your defense can get one of the two quarters correctly.  Is that the gist of it?
Bullfrog333:  Exactly. But there is a caveat - if I am down by a larger amount I may need to go to the pass (and he may get conservative and go to the run) so I need a few 4th qtr adjustments ready for different scores.

DKC: What would be one piece of information you would share with a mid-level coach trying to take his game to the next level?
Bullfrog333:To the mid-level coaches I would offer 2 general pieces of advice:  DKC:  That's a good tip, Jeremiah.  It's little things like this which separates the good and the excellent coaches.  Speaking of excellent coaches, name the top 3 GD coaches that you look up to or respect the most and why. You can add more or less if you desire. They are basically the ones you respect and are most challenged/pumped up going up against.
Bullfrog333:  That's really tough because there are a ton of really good coaches and only a handful I've played against more than occasionally. I think, if you don't mind, I'll switch the question around to coaches whom I respect a great deal AND have a current / running series of games with AND guys with whom I trade ideas.
Fastec, Jeffkahleb, SpecialK, Swooft (a protégé of mine), Champ83, Dublinuf, Tmburton, JMason, KevinK, You, GT, Carpediam33, Akua, Plague, Scottso and Scooby

DKC:  I noticed you included your protégé on the list.  As an accomplished coach, please speak about your experience on mentoring.
Bullfrong333:  I feel the only reason I got good at this game is through the help of others, most notably Fastec. I feel I am just passing on that tradition. I have had or have several protégé’s but Swooft is, by far, the most successful. In Warner my William Patterson team used to own the NJAC. Swooft has now won 5 of the last 6 CCs. Frustrating but also makes me proud. I like to see guys succeed.  On another note I am a strong believer in helping your conf be the best it can be. I have an open-door policy with anyone in any of my conferences. They all know I can and will help them with any aspect of the game as best I can. I am truly proud that the NJAC conf (in Warner) has gone from the worst to first (by WIS ranking) during my time there. I know that Swooft has had a lot to do this in both his play and, now, his willingness to help other coaches.

DKC:  Pay it forward!  That’s a good policy.  Many of us indeed do owe our success to a mentor.  Ok, folks, if you want a good mentor, be sure to join Jeremiah’s conference!  Actually, just sitemail him…I think he’s nice enough to help you anyways.    Jeremiah,share with us some of your favorite moments in GD.
Bullfrog333:  Probably all my firsts: 1st final 4, first NC, etc. Also, seeing Jeff win his 1st NC. The funniest post I ever read was the one about the player on some guys team who broke his neck on the final play of the game. The play was a kneel down...lol. Some other coach responded "well, at least you know the guy plays the full 60 minutes." Still makes me laugh.

DKC:  Please elaborate on some of the more interesting or memorable ones.
Bullfrog333:  I remember the 1st time I made the final 4. I was down at the half by a fair amount. I decided the only way to move on was to gamble and it paid off. Actually made the NC game that year.  My 1st NC was against SpecialK who I consider a good WIS friend and a rival. We had been meeting in the playoffs pretty regularly. We both had strong teams but, honestly, his was better. I won on the final drive of the game.   I guess one thing I remember/am proud of is that I've made the NC game in 3 different worlds. And won it with 2 different teams. Every team I've brought to an NC game is a team I built.

DKC:  Yes, we all remember those first time(s).  Speaking of building up title contenders, do you look to run all your teams the same way, or do you run each one differently?
Bullfrog333: I run each team to heighten their strengths - especially when I first take them over.    In terms of practice - yes, none of my teams practice formations.
In terms of gameplanning it really depends on my team and my opponent. But, essentially, I'm a run 1st guy when I can be.

DKC:  When you say "in terms of strength", are you speaking of the attribute, or are you speaking of the talent on the roster?  Also, in regards to practice time, please talk about why you are a believer in not practicing team formations?  If you're trying to convince someone that this system is better, how would you sell this idea?
Bullfrog333:  Yes, I look at the talent of the roster and try to play to those strengths. I recently took over an awful McMurry team. Really, really bad. Only had 7 roster spots to fill so really couldn't put my blueprint on it yet. The team can't run and has 3 QBs who are all awful. But all the QBs had similar cores so they each are the #1 QB for 2 formations. I make sure to run all formations thus I basically play 3 QBs at 90% effectiveness the whole game. That has helped me open up the running game (because I've been able to pass efficiently) so the team is currently 3-3 (with 2 losses in OT). That's quite a step up from the teams previous records. Anyway, that's an example of using the rosters' strengths.
On practice time. I used to practice formations. I experimented with one team for a season and found I liked the added growth of the players AND I saw no ill affects (Penalties, less YPC, stuff like that). Akua said it best so I'll paraphrase him: Could I win an NC with sub-standard players but with high formation IQ - Maybe, but the odds are against me. Could I win an NC with above-standard players with no formation IQ - I think the odds are better.  I know that JConte has said that the sim looks at formation IQ but from my experience it's really a player talent game (at least for now). So I decided to forgo all formation practice and just concentrate on player attributes. The added growth I've seen has been rewarding. I can also say I'm playing some of the best football in my career since the switch.

DKC:  Additionally, I do see the added benefit of being able to use any offensive and defensive formations during the game.  There you go, folks.  Although not all coaches have bought into this philosophy, maybe Jeremiah's testimony will get more people to consider forgoing team formations.
Jeremiah, your interview has been filled with some nice GD tips.  I hope it will benefit the readers’ game.  To be a successful GD coach, one needs to be a good recruiter as well.  Talk about your recruiting game.  What makes you so successful?  What advise would you give a solid recruiter to bring him to the next level?
Bullfrog333:  I think I'm going to decline offering some of my more useful strategies for recruiting. They've proven to be successful but only because just a few of us currently employ this strategy.  In general I would say learn how to walk away from battles - usually they just aren't worth it. There's usually an equal recruit just a few miles farther away that you could, ultimately, get cheaper.
Here are three tips I think are very important:
1) There are ALWAYS talented players found nationally on the last day VERY cheap. I can't tell you how many starters I've found this way.
2) To turn a long distance guy green all you need to do is offer a HC scout and a guaranteed Fr start. That's it. There's no reason coaches can't employ this strategy to widen their recruiting circle.
3) The worst time to try and recruit a guy is the few days right after signing. This is the most expensive time to go after these guys.

DKC:  LOL, one can't give ALL his secrets away, right?  On your second tip, I assume that you mean during the last days of recruiting.   
Bullfrog333:  Yes, the last 24 hours is when the recruits are the cheapest and I ALWAYS find useful players. Even when I'm rebuilding a team and my vision sucks. Just look nationally.

DKC:What's your take on the aggressive/conservative settings on both offense and defense, but especially on defense?  To me, this is one of the black box in GD that's hard to figure out.
Bullfrog333: I was taught by Fastec, who was taught by Plague and I have had conversations with Plague on this.  I want to call the opposite tendency then my opponent on when on D and the same tendency when I'm on O. If my opponent is calling aggressive on his run D (meaning that he's crowding the line) I want to run aggressive to try and get to the outside. If he's calling a conservative D, playing off the line a bit, I want to pound the ball up the middle.
On D it's hard to know what your opponent tendencies are but there are clues available. When running look for the variance per run from his AYC. If, when on O, your opponent is averaging 4 YPC but they are coming from a wide variety of distances (ie. 1 yard run, 7 yard run, 2, 6, etc) he is "probably" running aggressive. If he avg's 4 YPC and all his runs are basically between 3 and 5 he's probably just pounding the ball up the middle, ie conservatively.  For passing it's a bit easier I think. I look at completion % (but I also take into account how good his QB and WRs are vs my DBs) and who the passes are being thrown to. More passes to the RBs and TEs (although, here I check how good his TE is because it may be his #1 option anyway) mean that he is passing more conservatively.
In general I keep a mental notebook on what D's work against which coaches. It's been my experience that most coaches fall back on their own tendencies so once you find something that works it'll probably work again.

DKC: How do you find the time to manage so many teams? I can barely handle three. There are coaches who have even more teams than you do. I just don’t know how they do it.
Bullfrog333:  Most of my teams are on auto-pilot except for bigger games. And I have no life...lol.

DKC:  If you can have one (reasonable) change/improvement implemented to GD, what would that be?
Bullfrog333:  I'd like more gameplanning settings…things like blitz, zone, etc.

DKC: What are some GD goals you have that you haven't reached yet?
Bullfrog333:  At this point there's not that many. I'd like to get USC in some world.  I'd like to see KevinK and Swooft win an NC each. I'd like win a few more myself.  1000 wins would be cool.   I guess at this point it's more about respect from other coaches. I think I'm well respected but I haven't yet gotten to the upper echelon of coaches. I feel I'm getting there but I've got a long way to go. I think each NC helps give your name credence.

DKC:  Rest assured that you are respected among us, not just for your coaching ability, but for being the good guy that you are.  I am rooting for you to get a shot at USC in Hayes.  I think there isn’t a big difference between the top echelon and where you’re at.  There remains perhaps a few tricks or knowledge to obtain before you get there.  We are glad to have someone like you in our GD community.  Finally, is there any other topic you would like to address or have anything else to say?
Bullfrog333:  I would just like to compliment the coaches who have taken on protégés as well as encourage those who have not yet to do so.  I know, for me, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction when I see the guys I've helped do well.  I'm sure others feel the same way.  To those who haven't yet actively taken someone under their wing I would like to strongly encourage it.  I think it makes the game better as a whole.  The overall competition level is raised AND the camaraderie, a huge part of WIS, is raised as well.

DKC:  Those are indeed wise words.  Thank you Jeremiah for being so generous in your responses.  Hopefully people will find this interview helpful in getting to know better the man behind bullfrog333.  Additionally, new and experienced coaches alike are sure to benefit from your candid GD tips.  Once again, thank you for taking the time for this.