Aug. 25, 2011
By Matt Winkeljohn
It surely qualifies as a surprise that David Sims has grown so quickly into a new position that he appears to be in line to be Georgia Tech’s primary ball carrier this season . . . all just a few months after becoming a B-back.
When it came time to make the move, it came as no shock at all.
Sims knew from the day he arrived at Tech as a quarterback that he might not remain one.
So, no, he wasn’t stunned when head coach Paul Johnson approached him during practice shortly before the Independence Bowl to suggest that he consider moving backward – about five or six feet – to B-back.
He wasn’t offended, either. There may be glory attached to the position of quarterback, but it comes when you play if you play well.
And Sims wasn’t on track to play QB, at least not much. No wonder, then, that Johnson said the other day while sprinkling praise on Sims’ rapid rise that he mentioned as key the fact that the St. Matthews, S.C., native didn’t waste time feeling sorry for himself.
Sims didn’t make the trip from the Low Country to sulk. He came to play.
“I didn’t wallow in self-pity,” said the sturdily-built redshirt sophomore. “[Johnson] . . . suggested the move, said, `We’re trying to get you on the field.’ Sitting on the bench for two years you jump at any chance to get on the field.” Initially, the jumping didn’t go so well.
Spring practice was awkward at times although Sims played running back (and wide receiver and defensive back) at Calhoun County High School, the B-back position was a different batch of work. Odd angles, reads to be made than usual, and way more banging.
There were wistful moments, too, when he thought back instead of forward.
“Spring didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would,” he said. “I had to learn. I had times where I kind of wished I was still at quarterback, thinking, `I’d have made that throw,’ or, `I’d have made that read,’ or, `My footwork would have been better than that.’ It was more like a reminiscence of playing quarterback.
“I think the thing that has been most difficult is blocking; I haven’t had to block since I was in the eighth grade . . . and that was on the outside.”
Sims better absorbed the position after spring practice than during. Right up to the beginning of fall practice, he studied film, asked questions, worked and worked some more.
The greatest oddity here may be that Sims came to Tech largely for the opportunity to play quarterback, an option few if any other pursuers offered. Even at that, he didn’t take Johnson’s offer as a promise to start but rather as a starting point to see if Sims had promise.
“Coming out of high school, I never thought I would have a chance to play quarterback, truth be told. I was always recruited as a defensive back or a running back,” the running back said. “As I came here, I had a chance to play quarterback and that’s probably why I came [to Tech].”
At 6-feet and about 218 pounds, Sims is not massive, nor particularly broad-shouldered. He may not be the fastest of the B-backs.
He runs particularly hard, though, and if you look closely at his lower half you can see why. Sims’ rump and legs are built a certain way, the way you’d design them if you were to draw up someone to hurtle himself repeatedly into a fray.
Back home, there’s no shock and likely no sadness that the family quarterback is past tense.
In South Carolina, David Sims Sr. and Carolyn Jackson are happy when their boy is happy, and David is quite pleased to have the opportunity to play football rather than just practice at it.
So the move is all good.
“They said, `If it’s going to get you on the field, good,’ ” Sims said. “Mom’s cool with it.”
Comments to email@example.com.