Former Georgia Tech B-back David Sims has proven once again that, it’s not just what you know, it’s who you know. Or, more accurately, who knows you.
Sims has been hired as the quarterbacks and fullbacks coach at Shorter University, a Division II school in Rome. Sims was connected with the staff through Tech offensive line coach Mike Sewak. Shorter’s new offensive coordinator, Charlie Hopkins, played for Sewak at Georgia Southern, and is installing an offense similar to the one used at Georgia Southern and Tech. Hopkins asked Sewak if he knew of any coaches familiar with the offense, and Sewak thought of Sims, who had aspired to coaching even when he was playing for Tech.
An interview for a graduate assistant job turned into a full-time offer. Sims began just recently. The Hawks begin practice Monday.
“It’s good for David,” coach Paul Johnson said Tuesday. “I think he’ll do a really good job. He’s got a really good football mind. He’s motivated and wants to do it, so I’m happy for him. I think he’ll be good.”
Sims joins a small crew of former Jackets in recent history to go into coaching that includes Corey Dennis, a coaching intern at Ohio State, Steven Sylvester, a grad assistant at Tech, Shane Bowen, linebackers coach at Kennesaw State, and Logan Walls, who is a high-school coach in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Jaybo Shaw, who played at Tech for two seasons before transferring to Georgia Southern, is coaching for his father Lee at Rabun County High after stints at Georgia Southern and Western Carolina.
Sims had been looking at high-school openings, but “this came up and it’s something I want to get into, as you know. I thought it’d be a real good chance to get my foot in the door and get my career jump started.”
It is indeed a jump start. Consider that the four other assistants on the Shorter staff all had considerable coaching experience, some at the high-school level, some in college, before arriving in Rome. Hopkins, the offensive coordinator, worked four years before becoming a position coach at a Division II school - which Sims did in his first job.
“Absolutely,” Sims said of the notion that he is starting out well ahead. “I can’t disagree with that at all.”
The job is a matter of timing, a strong endorsement from Sewak and, of course, Sims' credentials. At his interview, Sims said he impressed the Shorter staff with his grasp of the offense. It comes as no surprise. Sims was one of the most insightful players I’ve gotten to know at Tech and he was exceptional at explaining to me what was working/wasn’t working with the offense, what had happened in a previous game and what was going on with the team. It was pretty clear he had the makings of a coach.
Speaking with him Wednesday morning, he said it was increasingly kicking in that he will soon be coaching, running players through drills, evaluating video, game planning and recruiting. He has already met players who have greeted him with “Coach, how you doing?”
They’re actually not the first, Sims said. When he was at Tech, cornerback D.J. White called him “Coach Sims” because of his knowledge and wisdom.
Still, he said, “It’s definitely something new and something I’m excited to hear.”
Sims said the Shorter offense will be fairly similar to the Tech offense, although there are some terminology differences. There are likely few candidates in the world who would bring as much firsthand knowledge of quarterback and fullback in this offense, as he came to Tech as a quarterback and backed up Joshua Nesbitt as a freshman before starting his final three seasons as the B-back (fullback) at Tech.
“I’ll probably use some things I learned from my playing days that I thought really helped me and benefited me,” he said, “and I’ll take some things that coach (Brian) Bohannon taught me, coach (Lamar) Owens taught me when he was a (graduate assistant). It’ll be a good deal.”
As is often the case at smaller schools, Sims will wear more than one hat. He’ll also be the team’s academic coordinator. Sims said he wasn’t made aware of this when he was hired. In fact, he said, he was in an offensive staff meeting when defensive coordinator Julius Dixon popped his head in and said that one of the coaches would need to take it on. Sims said that, without Dixon even saying anything, he knew he’d be the one to get tapped.
“I just turned around and put my head down,” he said.
Sure enough, Dixon came looking for Sims not long after. Sims said Dixon told him “we decided you’re going to allowed to be in charge of academics.”
Sims, who earned his management degree from Tech in four years, was nevertheless up for it and was hopeful that the extra job won’t be too great a drain.
“But I plan on implementing a couple things that I’ve taken from Tech that I learned from (Tech academic services director) Chris Breen and our academic advisers to make sure they have the right structure,” he said.
Shorter, which transitioned from NAIA last school year, competes out of the Gulf South Conference, which includes West Georgia. Shorter was seventh in the eight-team league last fall, with the top four teams receiving NCAA playoff bids.
It’ll be where Sims takes his first steps towards his goal of becoming a college head coach. His first game will be Sept. 5 against University of Faith. His third game (Sept. 19) will be against Kennesaw State and the man who coached him for four seasons, Bohannon.
Said Sims, “I really can’t wait to get started.”
Schniederjans' strong rookie run continues
Ollie Schniederjans turned in another strong result this past weekend at the Quicken Loans National, where he tied for 15th with a 9-under 275. He briefly led the tournament in the second round and pulled in $113,900 for his work. That followed his T22 the previous week at the Canadian Open, where he made his professional debut and, for good measure, his T12 at the Open Championship at St. Andrews. It’s, frankly, ridiculous.
Schniederjans has accepted a sponsor’s exemption into the Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nevada, starting Thursday. Perhaps most importantly for Schniederjans, he now has 98 FedEx Cup Tour points, which would place him 198th on the tour if he already had his card. If he can finish the season ahead of the 200th player (200th place right now is 86 points), he can play in the Web.com Tour finals, a four-tournament series where he’ll have a chance to win one of 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2015-16 season.
Basketball team going to Bahamas
The Tech basketball team will leave for the Bahamas Wednesday. The Jackets will play three games in four days against a Bahamian all-star team in Nassau and also take part in a community service project. Forward Marcus Georges-Hunt will accompany the team but not compete as he is still recovering from the broken-foot injury suffered in the final game of the regular season. (More in a later blog.)
Mason earning praise
Former Tech All-American Shaquille Mason stood out at the New England Patriots camp, where he has been working with the starting offense at left guard from the start. The practice session included a pancake block of defensive Zach Moore, a backup player in his second year, according to the Boston Herald.
It’s interesting to note that Mason is at guard, his position throughout college, and not center, where many projected him to play in the NFL due to his 6-foot-1 height. He has potential competition in guard Ryan Wendell, who is on the physically unable to perform list after offseason shoulder surgery. His return date is reportedly uncertain.
More on Dorian Walker
For the blog post on cornerback Dorian Walker in the “New in ‘15” series (just two left – Brentavious Glanton and Victor Alexander), I e-mailed Walker’s high school coach Mitch Jordan for comment on his former player, but decided to go ahead and post the story before Jordan returned my e-mail.
I ended up trading some e-mail with Jordan, a former Tech player and grad assistant, and what he wrote was worth sharing.
Jordan said that Walker was one of the top three players he has coached. The other two put him in pretty good company – former Tennessee and Tennessee Tech wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers and former Florida State center Ryan McMahon. Jordan coached both at the Darlington School.
Rogers led the SEC as a sophomore with 67 catches and 1,040 receiving yards and was second in the league with nine touchdown receptions before he was suspended prior to his junior season and transferred to Tennessee Tech.
McMahon started a school-record 53 consecutive games for the Seminoles and was All-ACC in his last two seasons.
Jordan added that Walker’s speed (he ran the 100-meter dash in 10.71 seconds) is legitimate and that when Mount Paran Christian competed against 5A and 6A schools in seven-on-seven in the summer, Walker was often the best player on the field.