ATLANTA — When David Sims wakes up each morning, there is one thing he has to do.
“I say a little prayer that I need to get better,” the redshirt freshman quarterback said. “I have to show improvement everywhere each day.”
While it is highly unlikely — barring injury — that he will start for Georgia Tech this season, the third-string signal-caller knows he has to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. He knows that he has to at least try to get his talents and abilities to be competitive with and on par with starter Joshua Nesbitt’s, even if reality proves they may not be this season.
But by finding a way to adopt that philosophy alone he believes he can become a better player and can help make the Yellow Jackets a better team.
“You look at all the good schools, the Floridas, the Alabamas, none of their backups think they’re backups,” Sims said. “That’s what makes their starters good and why they can build national championships.
“That’s what we’re trying to build here.”
Earlier this week, head coach Paul Johnson expressed a similar sentiment when talking about No. 2 backup Tevin Washington. The junior, who led the first-string offense in the spring while Nesbitt healed from ankle surgery, has performed admirably this fall, Johnson said. But he wants more. He wants Washington to step on the field not just competing for the top backup spot; he wants him to believe he can push Nesbitt.
With fellow backup quarterback Jordan Luallen now gone — the result of a transfer to Cincinnati last week — the number of repetitions and practice opportunities have grown for Sims. Before Luallen’s departure, he and Sims fought for the No. 3 spot behind Nesbitt and Washington. And while it may become easy to get complacent with his role as the true third quarterback on the roster, Sims believes he, Washington and true freshman Synjyn Days have only one way to approach the daily practice grind.
“Try to have that same mindset, compete and compete hard every day like I’m the starter,” Sims said.
Allen on Walker watch
Senior B-back Anthony Allen was named Wednesday to the Doak Walker Award watch list. The honor goes each December to the nation’s top running back, and is presented by the PricewaterhouseCoopers Southern Methodist University Athletic Forum.
As an A-back in the Yellow Jackets’ system, Allen rushed for 618 yards on just 64 carries last season to tally a whopping 9.7-yard average. This year, he has been moved to the offense’s feature back position and should see the yards and carries grow exponentially.
Allen joins a list of other Yellow Jackets like Nesbitt and punt returner Jerrard Tarrant to be placed on yet another preseason watch list.
“That’s good for them, I hope they prove themselves worthy,” Johnson said following Wednesday’s practice.
Former B-back Jonathan Dwyer was a finalist for the award last season.
The award is named for SMU’s former three-time All-America running back. In its 21st year, it is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification, a news release said.
There was no major news to report on the injury front, Johnson said. That said, he did add that precautions were being taken with Allen, who was hit in the head this week, Johnson said.
He expected him to return quickly from being sat out of Wednesday’s workout.
Upon skimming South Carolina State’s two-deep depth chart, there are several numbers that leap readily off the page.
Along the starting offensive line, there are a pair of 310-pound tackles and a 330-pound guard in junior Jake Johnson.
The average weight of the line is 310 pounds.
By contrast, the average weight of Georgia Tech’s defensive line starters comes in around 290 pounds.
Sims on State
A native of St. Matthews, S.C., Sims grew up a 15-minute drive from South Carolina State’s Orangeburg, S.C. campus.
As a result, he expects to see many familiar faces Sept. 4 when the Yellow Jackets host the Bulldogs.
“It’s going to be special,” Sims said. “I remember when the schedule first came out, I was expecting us to be playing Jacksonville State again. And so when I saw South Carolina State, I thought it was a misprint.”
Georgia Tech played Jacksonville State the last two seasons to open those campaigns.
Back-to-back MEAC champions, South Carolina State will be a challenging program.
“That’s something (quarterbacks) Coach (Brian) Bohannon keeps saying to me, is to tell my teammates that this is a good team and that they cannot be taken lightly,” Sims said. “Some of the guys on that team were getting recruited by some of the same schools we were.”