Georgia Tech B-back David Sims is keeping a secret.
Going into his third season as the starter at the workhorse position of the Yellow Jackets offense, Sims has personal rushing goals for his senior season. But he isn’t broadcasting them.
“You (can) ask me probably by the end of the year, I’ll let you know if I reached them,” he said.
Whatever they are, and he did offer some clue, he is undoubtedly in a much better position to reach them this season than he was in 2012. Last summer, Sims was recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his shin. It was an injury that led to an underwhelming first half of the season before, like the team, he rebounded with a strong closing run.
“I feel pretty good,” Sims said. “A long cry from how I was feeling last year at this time.”
Sims has goals for rushing yards, touchdowns and yards per carry.
“I’m meticulous like that sometimes,” he said.
He allowed that the yardage total is around what former Jackets B-backs Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Allen gained. Dwyer produced identical 1,395-yard seasons in 2008 and 2009. Allen followed in 2010 with 1,316. To reach 1,300 yards in a 13-game season, Sims would need to average – hmmm, let’s crunch the numbers – 100 yards per game.
“I think this year I can achieve everything possible if we go to the ACC championship game,” he said.
With a 14th game, a 1,300-yard season would require a 92.9-yard average. Last year, Sims gained 612 yards on 135 carries, a 4.5-yards-per-carry average. However, due to his prolonged recovery, he essentially ran the first half of the season on one leg. He ran for 513 of those yards in the final eight games of the season. In the final four games, he gained 331 yards on 61 carries, an average of 82.8 yards per game.
From a team standpoint, Tech stands a far better chance if Sims and backup Zach Laskey are successful behind an offensive line that returns five players (tackles Ray Beno and Morgan Bailey, guards Will Jackson and Shaquille Mason and center Jay Finch) with a combined 93 career starts. The more defenses are required to commit to defending the B-back dive play, the more chances there are for big plays with quarterback keepers, option pitches to the A-backs and play-action passes to the wide receivers.
While the Jackets will likely attempt to open up the passing game with the ascendance of quarterback Vad Lee, any pressure the running game can take off of an inexperienced group of wide receivers will be welcome. Sims has participated in seven-on-seven passing workouts this summer and retains a quarterback’s perspective on the offense, having come to Tech as a quarterback before switching to B-back after his redshirt freshman season.
“For the most part, I think (wide receiver) Darren (Waller) is going to be a viable option,” he said. “I think Travin (Henry, coming back from ACL surgery), if we can get him 100 percent healthy, I think he’ll be one of the surprise players this year.”
As is typical in the days before fall camp, optimism abounds. Sims gave glowing reports on the work being done in strength and conditioning workouts. He spoke with both weariness and pride of the training he has done, in particular drills with a Prowler, a diabolical metal sled on small skis that can be weighted down with weightlifting plates and pulled or pushed across the weight-room floor.
“Everybody’s working as hard as they can and doing a lot of different things,” Sims said. “I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
If that’s the case, it means that Sims’ goals, whatever they are, are probably within reach.
“If I can stay healthy, and (the offensive line) can stay healthy, I have no doubt we’ll achieve it, ” he said.