Photo by Austin Foote

Fifth-year senior B-back, David Sims, knows his time as a Jacket is finishing up and he is looking to make the most out of his last season on the Flats. Coaches have raved about Sims’ improvement this season and he had a very good preseason. Entering the Miami game, Sims leads the team with 248 rushing yards on 50 attempts. Sims looks to be a mentor and leader to the younger players on the team this season.

“Some of my goals coming into the season was to just be a mentor to some of the younger guys and try to do everything to make sure we get a win,” Sims said.

Sims has had a wild ride in his career at Tech. He was recruited by Tech to play quarterback and spent his redshirt year watching Jacket great Josh Nesbitt lead Tech to its first ACC championship in 11 years. In his second year at Tech, Sims saw limited playing time, and the coaches approached him after the season about switching to the B-back position.

There was not much depth at the B-back position after Tech lost Anthony Allen and Lucas Cox to graduation, so Sims was first on the depth chart entering his third year. Sims believes playing quarterback was beneficiary to his success at running back.

“It allowed me to shrink my learning curve a lot faster than if I would have had just gone straight to B-back,” Sims said.

There are currently 13 Jackets who have rushed for over 2,000 career rushing yards, including all-time leader Robert Lavette, Tashard Choice, Joe Burns, Eddie Lee Ivery, PJ Daniels and Jonathan Dwyer. Sims is on track to finish with over 2,200 career rushing yards, and he knows the significance of doing it.

“It would mean a lot to do that. Those are some of the top running backs not only from Tech but in the ACC. Dwyer and Tashard are both in the league and the other guys has pretty good careers too,” Sims said.

Sims is from St. Matthews, S.C. and is very excited to play Clemson one last time in his home state. However, the game he is looking forward to the most is the next one on the schedule.

“The Miami game. I’m trying to take it one game at a time, but every year we play Clemson, it’s always circled for me,” Sims said.

In his final year, there have been a lot of changes with new formations and wrinkles in the offense. Coach Paul Johnson has called more plays out of the pistol and diamond formations than ever before. It is expected to be more difficult to defend the Jackets the rest of the year as they get more comfortable running these new plays.

“It’s a little bit different. It’s something that we’ve been working on the last two to three years, and we’re getting our repetition and packages in the diamond up, and I think it’s going to throw a curveball to some people,” Sims said.

Tech is on pace to have over 200 passing attempts for the first time in the Paul Johnson era, but the offensive blocking scheme has not changed.

“I don’t think pass blocking has been more emphasized, but we have a lot of guys who play, and they understand how to pass block. I think it comes with preparation. If we can protect and get the ball down the field, Coach has no problem calling pass plays for us,” Sims said.

It has been a memorable career for Sims at Tech and he has improved every game he has played. He knows the emotions are different, but the game preparation has always been the same.

“I don’t want to say they’ve [the preparations] changed, but it gets amplified with every game this year. This is your last one, last go and last chance to make an impression,” Sims said.

Sims favorite memory so far as a Jacket is a toss-up between beating Clemson in 2011, when Clemson was ranked No. 5 in the country, and the Sun Bowl victory last season, where he rushed for a career high 99 yards and scored the first touchdown of the game. However, he is looking for new memories this season and wants to go out on top.

Tech will rely on Sims to lead the team in games. The B-back is the most important part of the option offense and success on the dive play will open the rest of the field up, and it will be easier to pass the ball.