A football team with an uncertain quarterback situation is a team in need of a leader. Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis shared Tuesday an anecdote that revealed which one of his players has filled that void.
Six games into the first Weis team, it’s clear the leader whose lead the players follow is the guy who was suspended the first three games after a DUI arrest.
James Sims led by more than example when his relentless running coincided with the change at quarterback in the second half of Saturday’s 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State.
“I’ll create some James lore, OK,” Weis said. “Now, of course, he didn’t say it to me, but he went into the huddle and told the offensive line, ‘Just give me a little bit more time and I’ll get it in the end zone.’ This was when we were on our end of the field and a few plays later, OK, a few plays later he’s in the end zone.”
This would be the same running back who came to Kansas from the Dallas Metroplex so shy he requested and was granted permission to skip media sessions under former KU head coach Turner Gill.
Sims backed up his promise with a 30-yard run that showcased his patience, vision, sharp cutting ability and enhanced speed that came in part because he dropped a few pounds from last season.
“Let me tell you something, those linemen and those tight ends and those other guys, when you say something and then you back it up, they block a little harder, they block a little longer, they try a little harder. They want to be a part of it,” Weis said. “Those offensive linemen score vicariously through those running backs. That’s how they score. That was a good thing.”
Sims stopped running after he got through the end zone. That’s when he flexed both arms and kept them in that pose for a while, an illustration of just how far he has come out of his shell and just how rapidly his adrenaline was pumping.
Too much showboating? Not for Weis.
“I think that any time that their personality comes out and I don’t get a 15-yard penalty, that’s fine with me,” Weis said. “I mean, I like celebrating, just as long as it’s within the rules and doesn’t cost you yardage. I’m never against it. I think that you have to make sure that whatever you do isn’t just about you and doesn’t cost your team.”
Sims averages 114.7 rushing yards per game, but isn’t listed among Big 12 leaders in that category because he has played in just half the team’s games. Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle leads the conference with 122.8 yards per game and Oklahoma’s Damien Williams ranks second with 101.6 yards a game.
“Last week, everyone was talking about that No. 1 from Oklahoma State,” Weis said. “Now they’re talking about Damien. I mean, a lot of people better start looking at that guy on our team.”