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Back Seat Coachin’: Dr. Jeff and Mr. Sims

Jeff Sims’ freshman campaign was filled with “wow” moments, both good and bad.

NCAA Football: ACC Kickoff Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Sims was anointed the Georgia Tech starting quarterback for his freshman campaign in 2020. The former four-star prospect per 247 Sports, Sims went through growing pains and learning experiences jumping from Jacksonville, FL high school ball and into the ACC. On the season, Sims threw 13 touchdowns but also 13 interceptions. The first year starter ran six TD’s, too, but also fumbled snaps, had bad meshes with running backs, and was careless with the football at times.

With a year of ACC play under his belt, and a full and regular off-season, Sims is primed to correct many of those mistakes he made as a young QB during the COVID season. Everywhere you look you see nothing but positive remarks about Sims from coaches and teammates. Jeff Sims is a hard worker who enjoys watching film and has an impressive physique which allows him to power through defenders and slip out of sacks.

Against Boston College in ‘20, Sims had some eye popping wow plays, both good and bad. For every dime he dropped on a corner route or fade, he also had wrong line calls or held the football too long.

Let’s take a look at his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or Dr. Jeff and Mr. Sims, performance against the Eagles last season.

Clip One

Above- On this inside zone read play, you can see that a line call was busted by someone. The right tackle steps left and leaves the play side defensive end unblocked. However, Sims doesn’t use the footwork for something like power read, which is a play side read. Instead, he uses the footwork for inside zone read, where that end should’ve been on the back side, not the front side.

A freshman QB will make these type of mistakes, and mess up line calls where as a veteran QB typically knows either A- a call was blown by the OC, or B- says “this doesn’t seem right” and adjusts it himself. Jahmyr Gibbs and Sims are both hit hard by the BC defense.

Clip Two

Above- Mere seconds later, Sims drives in this beautiful throw on a post. He looks hitch as his rhythm concept (first read in R4 terminology) to the WR on the bottom of the screen, resets his feet for his first read concept (2nd read in the progression) which is the post. Great eyes on the play, great footwork, and a dime of a throw from Dr. Jeff.

Clip Three

Above- Now we’re seeing the sloppy freshman mistakes. Knowing when to throw the ball away, when to scramble, and when a play is dead and you should just take a sack takes tactical knowledge that comes with experience. These decisions become instinctual over time, ‘thin-slicing’ if you will. The eyes see a clue, and the brain subconsciously makes a decision in a split second.

Sims didn’t have enough in-game college football experience in ‘20 to make those thin-slice decisions fast or correct enough. So his decisions were often slow and/or poor when he over thought a situation. Novices over-think, elites with veteran experience don’t think at all, it’s purely instinct.

Clip Four

Above- Control the controllables. These are the types of mistakes that drive coaches mad. Pre-snap penalties like false starts, illegal motions, and breaking the huddle with too many players are also on the list. GT has been plagued by all of those penalties, plus things like bad snaps, dropped snaps and fumbles meshes under Geoff Collins regime.

Sims takes his eye off the football too soon and drops the snap, leading to a BC fumble recovery.

Clip Five

Above- Then Dr. Jeff takes back over for Mr. Sims. Sims looks off a defender, resets his feet by stepping up in the pocket, and drops a dime on the go route into the back of the end zone. This is a beautiful throw, great protection, and a great job of Sims by looking off the safety before the throw.

Moments like this throw, and the next one, make you wonder if the Jackets won’t be pushing for the Coastal in ‘21. UNC and Miami are both beatable opponents who lose to underdogs on a yearly basis.

Clip Six

Above- This is a smash concept that Sims drops in beautifully where only his WR can get the ball. Sims rhythm concept is the hitch to the top of the screen. His read, after the reset, is the corner route. It helps that the protection holds up for a change and Sims has time to get to his 2nd concept in the progression.

Clip Seven

Above- I was going to blame this on Sims for holding the football too long, and he does. A QB with more experience will have a better wound, and louder internal clock. However, this is also a piss poor concept to call when you have a bad O-Line.

Three doubles moves on 3rd and 13 and BC is up big. Your offensive line, which is the weak link of your program in ‘20, would have to hold onto the BC pass rush for three seconds in order to get this throw off. There’s no ‘rush concept’ ie a hot route to throw when pressure is on. There’s no rhythm concept ie a first throw to make quickly at the end of his initial pass drop.

This was an all or nothing call behind a bad OL which leads to a bad sack.

Clip Eight

Above- This is a Mr. Sims play from Jeff Sims. He has plenty of time in the pocket, in his own end zone, and forces a double-covered ball rather than 1- attempting to scramble, or 2- throwing the football away. No one was calling for a comeback down this much, but it would be nice to see good decision making and growth in the scheme.

In the rearview

Sims clearly has the talent to be a great QB in the ACC for Georgia Tech. A second year starter in ‘21, Sims needs to show maturation in how he handles pressure situations, and in his decision making process. Again, the more experience a QB gets, with the right coaching, the better those split-second decisions should be and the fast they’ll be made.

No one is doubting that Sims has a strong arm both on intermediate and deep balls. No one is doubting that Sims can run on designed or scrambled runs. Sims also will build a fanbase because he’s a tough player that will run hard, lower his shoulder, and bounce back up after hard sacks. He’s a ‘man’s man’ type of QB that will endear himself to fans of old school and new school football.

My 2021 Prediction for Sims is that he has 2,800 total yards and 30 total TD’s with 12 turnovers (interceptions or fumbles).