Phillip Sims

Nick Saban’s NFL letter of recommendation for Sims (not THAT Sims)

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban may not have reached the same level of coaching success in the National Football League as he has in the college game, but his opinion is still one that is viewed and received with a good amount of respect in NFL circles. With the number of players Saban has sent to the NFL through Alabama, it is no wonder why. Saban’s players are typically ready for the NFL, but not every player is a lock to thrive on Sundays just because they wore a crimson helmet on Saturdays.

Saban wants NFL teams in need of an extra quarterback to take a close look at one of his former quarterbacks, Phillip Sims. Saban wrote a letter endorsing Sims and his pro potential that was distributed to all 32 NFL franchises.

As reported by AL.com, Sims’ agent Tommy Kellis initiated the effort by opening a conversation with Saban. Knowing Saban’s previous thoughts about agents, we can only imagine Saban was a tad reluctant at first. Even though Sims had transferred from Alabama to Virginia two years ago, Saban still found it worth his time to write a letter that could be shared with the league to pump up one of his former players.

The impact the letter from Saban ultimately has will likely be minimal. Sims is far from a highly rated prospect and he is probably going to go undrafted. But at least he will have a letter from Saban on his behalf. Saban didn’t have to do that, so the fact he did should say at least something about Sims. Who knows. Maybe this will lead to an opportunity somewhere in the league.

And maybe, just maybe, Saban is not as much of a curmudgeon as he is made out to be.

And yes, the odds are pretty good Saban would like it if the NFL took a good hard look at another one of his former quarterbacks named Sims; Blake Sims. Unlike Phillip, Blake Sims has a much better shot at being drafted by an NFL team when the draft comes up next month.

Saban still waiting for a QB to ‘take the bull by the horns’

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As has been the case since the spring, and especially since the Florida State transfer arrived, Alabama remains the most high-profile FBS team with an open and undecided quarterback competition. And, it appears, that will remain the case for the foreseeable future.

Just 10 days before the opener, neither Jacob Coker, the presumptive favorite, nor Blake Sims, AJ McCarron‘s backup in 2013, have pulled away from the other. Head coach Nick Saban, new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and the rest of the offensive staff are awaiting for it to go down, but it simply hasn’t happened yet.

And, seeing as we’re rapidly approaching opening weekend, it appears the formerly bristly Saban is getting a little anxious for someone to do just that — but not anxious enough for a premature trigger pull

“I would like to see somebody take the bull by the horns from a leadership standpoint, a consistency standpoint and win the job here sometime,” the coach said following practice Tuesday. “But we’re not going to make a decision until somebody does that.”

So, what if neither Coker nor Sims grabs the bull by the, uh, throat, before the opener against West Virginia? The Tide could very well be prepared to party like its 2011 under center. From al.com:

If that doesn’t happen, Alabama could very well play both Sims and Coker against West Virginia much like it did in 2011, when AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims split time in the season opener.

McCarron, of course, went on to grab hold of — eventually — the starting job for not only the 2011 season but the next two years as well. Saban can only hope that, eventually, either Coker or Sims does the same.

“One day one guy plays really well and you say, ‘Well, that looks like that might be it.’ And the next day the other guy plays really well,” Saban said. “I think the good news is we have two guys that I would feel very comfortable playing.”

Perhaps, comfortable enough to even play both in the same game depending on how the next week and a half goes.

CFT Predicts: the ACC

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As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the ACC.  

While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SECBig Ten, Pac-12

Atlantic Division

1. Clemson (Last year: 11-2; beat LSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl) 
What happened last season?
The Tigers shook their ‘Clemsoning’ curse and previous Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia by going 11-2 and beating LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

So why are they ranked here?
Offense, offense, offense. And some offense sprinkled in. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is a legitimate Heisman candidate and he’ll have Sammy Watkins to throw to for a third straight year. Watkins had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2012 — at least by his standards — because of a variety of issues, from a suspension to injuries, but he still finished second on the team in receiving yards. His touchdown production should rise again after getting in the end zone just four times.

Anything else?
The defense improved under first-year coordinator Brent Venables. With as good as the Tigers offense projects to be, there’s more wiggle room on that side of the ball. Also, can Clemson finally beat South Carolina after dropping four straight games?

2. Florida State (Last year: 12-2; beat NIU in Orange Bowl) 
What happened last season?
The ‘Noles won the ACC and beat NIU in the Orange Bowl. They also pulled their annual head-scratcher by losing to North Carolina State. The circle never ends, it seems.

So why are they ranked here?
Talent isn’t a question Tallahassee, but there are a lot of new faces. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston has a ton of upside at the quarterback spot, it just remains to be seen at this point how he handles his first year as starter. Wide receiver depth is becoming an issue too. The defensive line loses two pass rushers in Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner, but that’s an area stacked — almost unfairly — with capable players.

Anything else?
Florida State had a whopping 11 NFL draft picks in April, but Jimbo Fisher also had to replace roughly half his coaching staff. That’s a lot of turnover and it’ll be interesting to see how players and coaches jell this year.

(more…)

David Watford named UVa’s starting QB

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With Michael Rocco transferring and Phillip Simsdismissal, Virginia knew it would have a new starter under center in 2013.  Now, there’s officially a name to attach to the No. 1 player at the most important position on the field.

During a teleconference Monday, head coach Mike London revealed that David Watford has been named as the Cavaliers’ starting quarterback.  The Hampton (Va.) product beat out redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert for the starting job.

London’s decision comes a week into camp, giving the Cavaliers plenty of time with Watford as the unquestioned starter before the season opener against BYU Aug. 31.

Behind both Rocco and Sims last season on the depth chart, Watford took a redshirt his true sophomore year.  He played in 10 games the previous year as a true freshman after coming to UVa. as a three-star member of its 2011 recruiting class.

Tuesday afternoon one-liners

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Meandering our way through the offseason, a single one-liner at a time…

— Now-retired NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb: ” “My time at Syracuse prepared me for everything here.”

— Former Alabama quarterback competitors AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims show mutual respect on Twitter

June Jones, on leaving Conference USA: “SMU moving into the American conference now is an upgrade for us.”

— Leadership from within this summer is setting Clemson’s defense apart from recent seasons.

— The Denver Post writes that the Mountain West is facing 10 big questions heading into 2013.

Al.com: Marshall boasts a top quarterback in Rakeem Cato, but needs the defense to step it up.

— Texas Tech gets a wide receiver back from the New York Mets.

Ron English not outwardly concerned as he enters the final year of his Eastern Michigan contract.

— A trio of little-used reserves are no longer listed on Army’s roster.

— Pittsburgh quarterback Tra’Von Chapman has begun serving a three-day sentence on an attempted assault charge.