For college students, spring break is a glorious time that’s filled with sun, sand and fun.
Unless you’re Alabama quarterback Blake Sims.
Sure, the sun part may be there, but Andrew Gribble of AL.com reports that Sims spent part of his spring break in South Florida with private quarterback coach Ken Mastrole at the Mastrole Passing Academy.
Sims bounced from quarterback to running back and back to quarterback during his Crimson Tide career. Over the last two seasons as a quarterback, he has completed 23 of 39 passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions
How did Sims do at the camp?
Gribble suggests that Mastrole was impressed.
“The true test, obviously, is going to be what he continues to do on the football field,” he said. “I think he’s made tremendous progress.”
It was a great decision for Sims to take advantage of the down time and work on his game.
Most of his wide receivers aren’t going to be in town anyway, so he’s not missing anything and helping himself in a pressing time during his career.
With Sims, Alec Morris, Parker McLeod, Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell all vying for the starting job, first-team reps are gold for Alabama’s quarterbacks. Sims just got the equivalent of four days’ worth without any distractions.
Why wouldn’t he do this?
The arrival of Florida State transfer Jacob Coker is looming this summer, so not only is this the last shot for Sims—a senior from Gainesville, Ga.—to earn significant snaps, it’s his only shot. Because of that, he’s holding nothing back this spring in the hopes of emerging as he No. 1 contender to Coker once he arrives on campus.
Sims is a dynamic playmaker who can make things happen with his legs, but that’s not who he needs to be. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin runs a pro-style offense and Nick Saban doesn’t want that to change, so Sims will need to be a passer first and then create with his legs as a second option.
That ability to escape and create if the pocket deteriorates is desirable, but only if he stays within the offense.
That’s why this trip to Florida to work with Mastrole was so important.
He got one-on-one tutoring during the most critical time of his college career. Does that anger some coaches within a program, many of whom were hired to do the very same job? Sure.
Brandon Marcello of AL.com wrote earlier this month that Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn didn’t want his quarterback Nick Marshall working with a private quarterback coach this offseason, wanting to keep “one voice” within the program. That’s understandable, even though I wrote that it was the wrong decision.
But for Sims, it’s different. He’s hasn’t received full first-team reps at any point during his career and that experience could be what determines who’s the starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide this fall.
This is Sims’ last shot, and it’s clear that he’s going for it. If he doesn’t win the job, it won’t be due to lack of effort.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com.
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