On a day where inclement weather loomed large, a former University of Alabama quarterback was on a practice field with his hands in prayer over two young men. It is seldom to see Blake Sims not give back to the game that has provided him with more than a voice, but also a platform to discuss his experiences as he continues to chart his own journey toward success.
Jefferson Davis High School, located in Montgomery, Ala., is the Alma mater of former Crimson Tide defensive back, George Teague. Sims, along with ex-Tide teammates Christion Jones (CFL) and Courtney Upshaw (NFL free agent), held a skills camp to encourage youth on athletics.
Before taking his career to the pros, the man with a big smile and quiet confidence was an all-around athlete at Alabama. Sims lined up at running back, defensive back, wide receiver and backup quarterback on two BCS national championship teams (2011, 2012) — prior understanding the opportunity he was about to receive upon his senior year in 2014.
The arrival of graduate transfer Jacob Coker, from Florida State University, had Crimson Tide fans excited as they believed the 240-pounder was their guy. Never one to give up easily, the native Georgian battled Coker to the end and won the job after his performance against West Virginia in the 2014 season opener. Regardless of having little in the cupboard on defense, Sims’ dual threat capabilities guided the team to its first-ever College Football Playoff appearance.
While his passing yards – 3,487 – stand as the most in school history for a single-season, the 2014 Southeastern Conference champion has much influence on next season’s quarterback competition between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. In chopping it up with yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Sims said both guys ‘are playing for each other’ at Alabama.
“I saw them walking together, eating together and that is a great sign,” Sims said on the relationship of Hurts and Tagovailoa.
“If you see both quarterbacks competing for the starting position and they are arguing, you are not together as a team. They are together and they are working for each other. At the end of the day, they understand that whoever is the starting quarterback then the other is one play away from going back in. We are all about the Bama way and that is winning a championship.”
As much as one could be upset with overzealous Tide fans picking favorites on Twitter, they too want to see the best player take the job and continue to boast national championship hardware over Auburn fans and others invested in college football. To remain focused on helping one another and making the program better, Sims offered one piece of advice to both guys.
“I tell them to stay off social media,” he said.
“Don’t even get on it. Everybody that you need to be in contact with is at the complex. Stayed focused into the program. Understand what you want for your future and for your team.”
He’s an old school guy when it comes to competition, but Sims wants the best for Hurts and Tagovailoa on the field. He plans on attending the A-Day game and as for the individual he is most excited to see, the once four-star recruit and two-sport athletic didn’t pick a quarterback.
“I’m rooting for our new offensive coordinator to do a great job,” Sims said. “He’s a great guy. He loves the players. He wants to see them all do great and he gets to know us before he coaches us. That is a big thing, so I want to see him do great.”
The play caller he is referring to is Michael Locksley.
After serving as offensive analyst and co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach in the last two seasons, he will run the show in the fall. Alabama spring game is next Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 1:00 pm CT.