Slimmer, stronger and more confident, David Sims is already doing everything he can to stake his claim to be Georgia Tech’s No. 2 quarterback behind Josh Nesbitt.
Sims, Tevin Washington and Jordan Luallen went through their second spring practice on Wednesday. Nesbitt will miss the spring after having minor ankle surgery. But Sims is competing as if the No. 1 job is at stake.
“I’m just learning as much as I can,” Sims said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to play this year.”
To get on the field, Sims has worked hard off of it.
He weighed 230 pounds at the beginning of last season’s practices in August and looked heavy. He’s down to 215 and looks quicker. He also spent the short offseason studying film and talking to the wide receivers to learn more about where they liked certain passes.
It’s a far cry from last August, when coach Paul Johnson called Sims out when he appeared to drop out of a conditioning drill.
“His attitude has done a 180,” Johnson said. “He’s working hard and trying to do the right things.He’s got a real chance this spring of moving himself up.”
There were rumors during the season that Sims was considering transferring. Johnson said it appears that because Sims decided to stay at Tech, he’s also decided he’s going to work.
“It’s just being more comfortable,” Sims said. “Last year I was really pressing, trying to play early like most freshmen. Sometimes I would let my goals and my standards get the best of me when I wouldn’t reach them.”
Wide receiver Tyler Melton, who was running drills with Sims on Wednesday, said he’s noticed a difference in the redshirt freshman.
“Overall difference between him last year and this year is consistency,” Melton said. “His passes, his placement of the ball, his footwork, where his shoulders are when he lets go of the ball. With consistency comes confidence so he’s also got a lot of confidence in himself as well.”
Melton said Sims’ maturity is a result of him being on campus for a year.
“That’s just a growing thing,” Melton said. “He’s a young guy that’s continuing to grow.”
Nose tackle Logan Walls said he’s enjoying the changes on defense that have been put in by new defensive coordinator Al Groh. Walls is transitioning from playing defensive tackle the last two seasons to nose tackle this season.
There are two big differences. In Groh’s 3-4 scheme, Walls said the defensive line is doing more reading and reacting to the offensive line, compared to last year when they would attack at the snap. He’s also lining up over the center, instead of in a gap between the center and guard. It’s called zero-technique.
Regardless of the scheme’s philosophy or where he lines up, Walls said the goal is the same.
“I want to make a tackle or sack every play,” he said.
Johnson was pleased with the team’s effort on Wednesday, but said the fun will begin on Friday when the team will put on pads for the first time.
“You can never tell in shorts,” he said.
Tech ran some more plays out of the shotgun formation, but Johnson cautioned not to read too much into the choice for this under-the-center, run-based team.
“That’s just for you guys,” Johnson said. “You don’t think we’re going to actually use it in a game do you? It’s something to break the monotony in practice.”
He said he hasn’t decided if the team will practice at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday.