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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Keegan

Kansas RB James Sims mystery no more

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Kansas running back James Sims carries up the field during spring workouts at the practice facility on Friday, April 1, 2011.

The mysterious James Sims, who quietly had a monster freshman season at running back for Kansas University’s 3-9 football team, was the source of bewilderment among reporters.

Sims, one of the team’s few players worth marketing, made that difficult to do. After a attending a couple of media sessions, he decided he wasn’t comfortable doing interviews and shut it down for the year.

Sims considered that a problem, so he did what driven athletes do when they perceive they have a weakness. He worked on it and solicited the help of trained professionals. Sims said he asked, “some of my (communications) teachers,” at KU to help him.

“They just had cameras in my face, asking me questions that the media would ask me, and I would just have to answer them,” Sims said.

It wasn’t until he saw replays of himself that he came to the same conclusion as reporters who had interviewed him: He’s pretty darn good at it, which made his reluctance so puzzling.

“Yes, sir, I was (surprised),” he said with a big smile.

More importantly, he was pretty darn good at running the football.

Sims’ productive season somewhat got lost in the overall disappointment of a football season, Turner Gill’s first as head coach, that didn’t generate much buzz.

Sims didn’t play in the loss to Division I-A North Dakota State, so don’t blame that one on him. In Week 2, he became the first true freshman to rush for 100 yards (101, to be exact, plus a touchdown) in his debut against Georgia Tech. Two games later, he rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns vs. New Mexico State. In the comeback against Colorado, his totals were 123 yards and four rushing touchdowns. Kansas went 3-0 when Sims rushed for 100 yards, 0-9 when he didn’t.

His 742 yards were eighth among NCAA freshmen in 2010, and his 10 touchdowns (nine rushing) led the Jayhawks. He’s listed at 6-foot, 226 pounds and comes from Irving MacArthur High in the Dallas Metroplex, where current KU receivers coach David Beaty was head coach when Sims was an eighth-grader being wooed by Beaty. Sims also knew Gill before coming to Kansas.

“I had a good feel for coach Gill when he was at Buffalo because he recruited me real hard over there,” said Sims, who has fielded punts in practice. “He’s a real good guy.”

That strong relationship didn’t prevent Gill from loading up on running backs. Sims will compete for carries with red-shirt freshman Brandon Bourbon and incoming freshmen Darrian Miller, Anthony Pierson and Dreamius Smith.

“Regardless of if you had an amazing year, you’re still going to have to compete,” Sims said. “Coach Gill made it clear there are no spots reserved for anybody, no matter who you are or what you did.”

Bigger and faster backs than Sims are in the competition, but that doesn’t mean they’re better. Sims has proven he knows how to find the holes. If someone beats him out, look for big things from that someone.

Comments

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

If we can't blame Sims for the ndsu game can we blame the person that didn't put him in the game?

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riverdrifter 3 years, 3 months ago

So you, in your infinite football coaching knowledge, having coached the team to that point, would have? Please enlighten us with your expertise.

Your question deserves no answer.

Next.

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redlegger 3 years, 3 months ago

Please, please ahpersecoachingexperience I ask that you put yourself in wait-and-see mode for a while - maybe until after the first three games of the season. Then if you must - blast away!

In the meantime, maybe you could educate me on what the second-guessing and criticism of Coaches and Players on these discussion boards accomplishes. Is it that you believe the Coaches, Players, Administration, or Boosters are paying attention and will act on your advice?

Thanks in advance!

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justinryman 3 years, 3 months ago

What it accomplishes is that he gets everybody to keep reading his post and making everyone mad, almost troll like, but the problem is he actually had a few good things to say about basketball this year. I know, right, I too was taken back by a positive comment from ahperse.

Dont' let him light your fire so quickly and aimlessly, he's just doing it to get things started on a bad side.

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John Randall 3 years, 3 months ago

You can blame anyone for anything you like, as long as you have a keyboard and an ISP. That privilege may be used as well or as badly as you see fit.

Just don't get too comfortable with this kind of personal freedom until a few more of the lib-left wannabeczars get tossed outside the I-495 beltway.

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Ben Kliewer 3 years, 3 months ago

You two are up late... I blame ahperse's negative attitude for the 9 losses last year. Threw off the Feng Shui at Kivisto.

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redlegger 3 years, 3 months ago

I agree Kleave - we need that good Feng Shui at Kivisto.

Not to brag, but the one game I went to last year was GT, and I was doing my best to roll out the good vibes for the Team.

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JayhawkRock 3 years, 3 months ago

The running back situation is interesting to me...We have so many young, talented backs on this team. Miller, Sims, Bourbon, Lewis, and Dreamius Smith to name a few. I really think a one two punch of Sims and Bourbon will be nice this season. Throwing the ball is going to be rough but we do have a solid offensive line coming back and with our backs we should have an effective run game.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

And you forgot Pierson, who may be a receiver.

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KU_Alumn_2000 3 years, 3 months ago

Definitely want to see what Bourbon can do with the ball. Got a feeling that Miller may end up being our primary back. It will be interesting to see how the runningback situation unfolds. Wished we had that type of talent and depth on the defensive line.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

The development of the D-Line is another interesting storyline. There were comments last year about Kevin & Keba bulking up and moving inside. It will be interesiting to see who can bring some speed off the edge opposite Toben. It is great to hear that DJ is getting back in the action. Any word if Jeremiah Edwards is a possibility for getting back in the action? My recollection is that he was a possibility for getting on the field as a frosh last year before his health concerns.

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kujayhox 3 years, 3 months ago

dont forget julius green will finally be on the team. 6'7" 250+ seems like a beast that we need at DE. he can close up cut back lanes and has the speed and size to disrupt the qb on any team we play. i have a good feeling about him. everyone has been comparing him to julius peppers and after doing some research on him, i can see why.

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TopCityHawk 3 years, 3 months ago

With so many players switching positions last year (and our need for speed on defense), I am almost certain a few of the RB's will be getting a look elsewhere this Spring.

Our running game clearly fits Sim's running style. The same can be said for Bourbon. I believe these two will be our horses this year. Rell Lewis, Deshaun Sands, Anthony Pierson (rs?) and Darrian Miller (rs?) may get their touches, but in a more creative manner. It will be interesting to see how the coaches scheme with so many viable options.

With the experience of our offensive line, there is no doubt our running game will be a key determining factor in how many games we will be able to stay in this year. The benefits of an efficient ground game are endless, and could be the key to a "successful" season.

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Dirk Medema 3 years, 3 months ago

Not sure about your conclusions regarding the RB's, but definitely excited about the options available.

A huge key could be the health, and hopefully significantly improved condition of the OL. Thought I remembered reading recently about Hatch and Spikes in particular being much healthier than last year. It will be interesting to see which of the new Clydes makes it on the field this year. There's obviously room, since the 2 of 2-deep is virtually non-existant. Hopefully, there will be another strong class this year.

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TopCityHawk 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm not positive things will shake out this way, just a hunch given the quality number of RB's and need for speed/athleticism on the field. I am sure each guy will get his fare share of touches this Spring, and Coach Gill will get things settled.

I could not agree more about the health of the o-line, and team in general. Last year was brutal, and Gill was often left trying to hold things together with duct tape and bubblegum. A good dose of health would do wonders for our group this year. The linebackers, hogs, and secondary all lost projected starters for the majority if not entire season. Injuries are bound to happen, but hopefully its our year to get lucky in the health department.

A healthy team full of actual starters does not go 3-9 this year or last. But who knows? Only time will tell.

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John Randall 3 years, 3 months ago

""I am sure each guy will get his fare share of touches ... ""

Do you mean they have to cadge help to pay the taxi bills? How fare can that be?

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TopCityHawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Ha. Yeah, the cab fare is rarely fair. Thanks.

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vd 3 years, 3 months ago

What made 2007 a magical season? Easy schedule and no injuries. No injuries in part, because of the easy schedule. TCU and Boise have the easy schedule every year, thus fewer injuries. Depth is what makes championship teams. Teams from non BCS conferences don't need depth.

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kujayhox 3 years, 3 months ago

very true. when you have to go out and play utah state, wyoming and new mexico, your second team tends to get more reps and the starters tend to stay healthier. tcu didnt have a grueling schedule, they ran over everyone because they are now able to recruit like the other texas schools and the guys go there to win bowl games. when they go to the big east and have to travel for hours on end (although a potential trip to florida doesnt hurt) but having to travel as far as they will for league play will hurt their recruiting. not to mention having to wear purple...that cant help much either.

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