I spoke Monday with B-back David Sims for a story that will run later this week, mostly about his progress since last season. A couple highlights from the interview:
1. Sims believes a big reason he didn’t produce more was that he wasn’t trusting in the creases to be there.
“Most of the times when I don’t trust or I’m not being certain, it shows,” he said, “because I’d be slow to the ball or I’m looking.”
Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon put it another way.
“I think what he’s saying by that is he was always looking and seeing where to go instead of just saying, ‘Hey, I see what’s in front of me, I’m going to go, I’m going to play fast,’” he said. “With those guys at B-back, it’s been, keeping your pads down and playing fast and just let the rest of it unfold.”
2. Bohannon acknowledged that, with that mindset, there still will be times when the holes actually won’t be there. But Sims still has to keep his pads down.
“That’s part of playing running back,” he said. “You get a head of steam, you at least knock the pile back a little bit.”
The difference could be four or five yards instead of a one- or two-yard gain.
“Four or five yards, that puts us in good position to have third and short, fourth and one, things like that,” Sims said. “I’ve taken it upon myself to make sure I at least get those four or five yards.”
Bohannon said he’s seen glimpses of Sims playing much faster through the mesh.
“He’s just got to keep that up,” he said.
3. Sims said he watched a lot of video studying himself and other B-backs. After the season, he studied runs by Jonathan Dwyer, Anthony Allen and Preston Lyons, as well as himself, to figure out what he could be doing better. He said he has watched the Sun Bowl, which he didn’t play in, three times.
Sims said he was looking for “how Dwyer hit the hole and what he saw. Once he got in the open field, how many cuts did he have to make for him to get north and south. How did Anthony go through the mesh. How low Preston was, because he always ran behind his pads. Different things like that.”
What he saw in his runs was what convinced him he needed to be more trusting.
“There was a lot of times I thought I didn’t have creases, but after I looked back at the film, I did,” he said.
4. Sims thinks Allen had a similar challenge in 2010 and was able to make the adjustment midway through the season. Allen’s yards-per-carry remained virtually identical games 1-5 compared to games 6-13 (5.5) but his yards-per-game increased from 66.0 to 123.3.
“I’m trying to follow that (example of trusting more), except for I’m trying to start from now till the end of the year, when we’re probably trying to go for the ACC championship,” he said.
5. On the topic of Allen, my colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter shared with me a nugget from the NFL draft combine. Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was asked at the combine about the impact of Ricky Williams retiring.
Williams backed up Ray Rice, a two-time Pro Bowler who was given the Ravens’ franchise tag and will return to the team, whether with a one-year franchise player deal or a long-term contract. Williams ran 108 times for 444 yards. Allen had three carries as the No. 3 running back.
“We have Anthony Allen, a young kid that we drafted out of Georgia Tech and we’re going to give him every opportunity to be that guy. Now, that you’ve had a guy on campus for a full year. It’s almost like having those two young tight ends last year and having a good feeling that those guys can play for us. We’ve got Anthony and we’ll give him every opportunity. Damien Berry, he’ll get some opportunities. We’ll go into August like we did last year and try to get that out.”
Berry made the team last year as an undrafted free agent out of Miami.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog