Sacked Vol QB can take a licking
Posted: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:22 pm
By: By BETH RUCKER, AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Matt Simms considers himself a pro when it comes to taking a sack.
The Tennessee quarterback has a little experience having been hit with 18 of them in five games.
“I know it sounds weird, but I really think I’ve kind of mastered how to take a sack and just protect my body and protect the football,” he said. “Really, most people would think you try to tense up and kind of ball up your muscle, but really you kind of relax and let your body go, really to be honest, and not try to brace yourself by putting your hand out or bracing the fall.”
Simms knows that when your starting offensive line includes only one senior playing next to two true freshmen and two sophomores, sacks will just be a part of the game.
The Volunteers (2-3, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) are giving up an average 3.8 sacks per game, ranking them 117th out of 120 FBS teams.
The young line has begun to improve lately as the freshmen and sophomores get more time on the field this year.
The current starting lineup has started two consecutive games together, though sophomore Dallas Thomas may be out against Georgia after hurting his ankle.
Georgia’s defense has struggled in its first season of a 3-4 scheme, but coach Mark Richt thinks the Bulldogs, who are averaging two sacks per game, are improving.
“We’re at least to the point where they are comfortable doing it where they can really play with the speed that you need to play with,” Richt said. “As you learn something, you just can’t cut it loose like you do once it’s yours.”
Even if the Bulldogs (1-4, 0-3) can reach Simms before he releases the ball, the junior quarterback won’t let it affect him or his offense too much.
Sure, the Vols have given up 128 yards with 19 total sacks — an average of 6.7 yards per sack — but Simms has shown no problems popping up off the field and getting into position for the next play.
He hasn’t even taken an ice bath this year to soothe aches and pains.