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August 9, 2011

Sims carries quiet confidence

TUSCALOOSA | Phillip Sims doesn't act as though he is feeling the weight of any personal pressure. The prospect of a freshman lining up at quarterback for the nation's preseason No.2-ranked college football team would figure to be overwhelming for some. But Sims fielded questions Sunday about the University of Alabama's upcoming season with all the candor and confidence of a guy who had done it all before.

Only, he hasn't.

A competition with AJ McCarron for the role is more than enough for Sims to focus on, for now, without concerning himself with the demands that await UA's next starter at the position. But if the redshirt freshman does eventually earn the job, it's clear he's got the belief in his own game that's necessary for any successful quarterback.

"I think I'm a pretty accurate quarterback, strong arm, pocket passer. I think I fit real well in our system as a pro-style offense ... I mean, we have great athletes here, like Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks and DeAndrew White and guys like that," Sims said. "Getting the ball in those guys' hands is a quarterback's dream. So you get the ball out of your hand and into their hands as fast as possible."

Sims performed well in scrimmage work during the Crimson Tide's spring practice, but has yet to throw his first college pass. But a major reason for his confidence is not only a belief in self, but a belief in his teammates.

"Our offensive line has the potential to be one of the best units in the country this year," Sims said. "Barrett Jones, Vlachos, older guys we have are really going to bring some leadership to the offense as a whole, not just the offensive line."

Sims said running back Trent Richardson, among the Southeastern Conference's leading returning rushers, is also a factor that will help keep UA's quarterback in manageable situations.

"He has great hands and catches the football and runs great routes," Sims added. "He does more than just get the ball and run downhill. He helps us out in protection. He does it all for us."

His primary competition for the role said Sims improves daily.

"Phil's got a great arm. He's knowing the offense and he's getting better every day," McCarron said. "And we're pushing each other. I think at the end of the day we're both making each other better."

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase.goodbread@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0196.


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