Tag:Matt Simms
Posted on: November 1, 2010 12:38 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2010 12:42 pm

Matt Simms is one unhappy camper

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Even in their 38-24 defeat at South Carolina , Tennessee had a lot of things to be happy about Saturday: the resilience the young Vols showed on the road, a second-half comeback instead of a second-half collapse, the surprisingly effective performances (give or take a critical, game-changing turnover) from quarterbacks Matt Simms and Tyler Bray .

But if you're Simms himself, all those other positives don't matter nearly as much (if at all) as the fact that they end with "and Tyler Bray." The JUCO transfer apparently didn't intend on splitting snaps when he signed on with Tennessee, even after committing a pair of costly fumbles, and he's not making any attempt to hide it :

"I had no idea that I was going to get taken out of the game for [a fumble]. I was playing really well. Extremely well. Probably the best game I've played all year. It's rough but hey, they made a decision and they stuck with it ...

"I wish I could say that I'm definitely the starting quarterback. It's unfortunate they took me out. I felt like I played really well. I feel like I could have made all those throws because we had guys wide open down the middle of the field. I feel like I'm a good enough quarterback to make those plays and I'm just still upset that I got taken out like that."
Believe it or not, there's more :

"Nothing much I can do about getting hit in the back and the guy stripping the ball from me," Simms said. "That's one of the better defensive lines in the conference. Hey, if you get hit a lot the ball comes out.

"It wasn't like I dropped back and threw it back to the other team."

The person who did "drop back and throw it to the other team"? That would be Bray. It's tough to get much more insubordinate than this in the press, or more dismissive of your teammate ... a teammate that, pick-six aside, did go an impressive 9-of-15 for 159 yards and a pair of scores. If Bray's capable of playing that well, it's impossible to blame Derek Dooley for getting the quarterback of the Vols' future some in-game repetitions now.

So it's hardly taking a bold stance to say that Simms should clam up in front of reporters, work on his ball security, and take whatever complaints he has directly to his coaches. Between the 0-5 SEC record, the freshman defensive end arrested on assault charges , and the defensive issues that led to the 38 Carolina points, Dooley has enough to worry about right now without having to muzzle one of his players in the press. The way Bray has played, at this point, it would be an equally un-bold stance on Dooley's part to sit Simms for this week's date at Memphis in response.


Posted on: October 30, 2010 11:29 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 11:32 pm

What I learned from the SEC (Oct.30)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. The SEC East will be decided on November 13. A few weeks ago the SEC was up for grabs with just about every team in the division still in contention to win it.  Now, after Saturday's events, only two teams remain.  With their wins on Saturday, only South Carolina and Florida have a realistic shot, and they play in Gainesville in two weeks.  Florida has Vanderbilt before that, which they should win, and while South Carolina has a tough test with Arkansas next week, they can withstand one more loss.  Either way, the winner of that game on the 13th is going to Atlanta.

2. Auburn cares not for the BCS curse.   Oklahoma couldn't overcome it last week, and some folks wondered if Auburn would be the next #1 team in the BCS to suffer a loss, but it didn't happen this week.  The Tigers took care of Ole Miss 51-31 on Saturday night in Oxford, and the Cam Newton Heisman Locomotive kept on barreling down the tracks.  In fact, Newton decided he was tired of merely passing and running for touchdowns, so he decided to catch one this week as well.

3. Tennessee found a new quarterback.   And his name is Tyler Bray.   The freshman saw his first action last week, and came on in relief of Matt Simms against South Carolina this week as well, and it looks like he may have wrestled the starting job away.  Bray was far from perfect for the Vols, but he did throw for 159 yards and two touchdowns, getting the Vols back into the game before South Carolina pulled away late. Considering that Bray is the future for Tennessee, and the Vols have nothing left to play for, it only makes sense to roll with Bray the rest of the way.

4. Aaron Murray is going to be very good one day.  It's just not going to be this season.  At times on Saturday, Murray made fantastic plays to help lead Georgia back from a 21-10 deficit and force overtime against Florida.  Unfortunately, he also turned the ball over four times, including the back breaker in overtime.  Even so, Murray showed the kind of flashes on Saturday that have to make Georgia fans very optimistic about the future.

5. Chas Henry will rest peacefully tonight. I've felt incredibly sympathetic for Florida punter Chas Henry this season.  He's had to fill in for an injured Caleb Sturgis, and has missed a few huge kicks for the Gators, including one that led to a loss against Mississippi State.   Still, he made a very big one on Saturday night, nailing a 37-yarder to win the game in overtime.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 1:47 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 1:48 pm

Chicken Curse threatening Gamecocks. Again.

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one would have disputed coming into this weekend that South Carolina -- despite being the odds-on favorite to win the SEC East even after their stunning loss to Kentucky -- had a long way to go to finally shake their penchant for late-season collapses and the so-called "Chicken Curse" that's haunted them every time they've enjoyed even a little prosperity.

But the Curse was supposed to at least wait until next week, when the 'Cocks took on Arkansas . This week was supposed to be a gimme, a lay-up, with Carolina hosting Tennessee , a team winless in SEC play that had lost their last two games by 58 points.

But behind Matt Simms ' best performance of the season to-date, the Vols have had other ideas. Simms has gone 9-of-12 for 148 yards and a nifty touchdown to Luke Stocker , leading Tennessee into a 10-10 halftime tie on the road. The Vols could even be ahead if not for a disastrous sequence following a first-and-goal at the Carolina 6, when Tennessee went backwards on two plays before a third-down sack and Simms fumble helped set up a Carolina touchdown drive.

But we've seen this movie before when it comes to the Vols, who have put together solid first halves against teams like Oregon and Alabama before their razor-thin depth chart caught up with them late in the game. It won't help that Marcus Lattimore appears to be fully over his ankle injury, running for a tough 92 first-half yards and adding another 26 as a receiver.

So Carolina remains the prohibitive favorite. But given their history, the Gamecock faithful have to be sweating a bit at the moment.

Posted on: October 25, 2010 1:22 pm

Matt Simms doesn't enjoy sharing snaps

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In an effort to shake things up with his offense, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley decided to give freshman Tyler Bray some snaps during practice last week and during Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Saturday night.  Obviously, considering the Vols only managed to score 10 points and gain 315 yards of offense in their 31-10 loss, not much changed with the two-quarterback system.

In fact, Bray struggled quite a bit, completing only 5-of-14 passes for 39 yards and an interception.  The man he took snaps away from, Matt Simms, didn't fare that much better, completing only 12-of-22 passes for 117 yards and throwing an interception of his own.  Still, Simms' performance was better than Bray's, and the junior quarterback thinks things would have gone a bit better had he been left in the game.

"I knew the plan going into the game was to get [Bray] a few drives or whatever," Simms said. "By the way things were going in the game at that moment, I really didn't think that I was going to get taken out -- later on in the game maybe. They stayed true to their plan, and I respect that, and I thank them for being honest with me, but at the same time those drives right there, I feel like I need to be out there, because I feel like I'm missing out on plays that could have been made or penalties that could have been avoided."

Simms did go on to say that he appreciated the coaches honesty in the whole situation, but that when it comes to sharing time with Bray that the coaches "know how I feel about that." 

It's easy to understand where Simms is coming from, because no quarterback who has spent the entire year as the team's starter is going to enjoy suddenly sharing snaps.  Especially when the team is losing.  Still, it's because Tennessee is losing that Simms needs to get over it.

While he hasn't gotten much help from his offensive line at all this season, Simms hasn't been very good.  He's thrown nearly as many interceptions (5) as he has touchdowns (7) on the year.  Obviously, Matt Simms: Full-Time Quarterback hasn't been a winning formula for the Vols.  So mixing in Tyler Bray, whom the coaching staff hopes can be the quarterback of the future, can only help in the long run.

So while Simms may not like sharing snaps, he should probably get used to it.  Then, when he is on the field, play so well that the coaches can't take him off the field.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:27 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:27 pm

Vol QB Tyler Bray to play against Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

At 2-4 and with his Volunteers mired in next-to-last in the SEC in total offense (Vanderbilt: the statistical gift to the rest of the league that never stops giving), it's undoubtedly desperate times for Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley . So it's not surprising he's turned to the first desperate measure of the college head coach: tossing raw freshmen into the deep end :

That "good luck, skinny kid" (from Chattanooga Times-Free Press writer Wes Rucker) may not seem particularly sensitive, but it's sure not inaccurate. At 6'6", Tyler Bray is the same height as current SEC quarterback giants Ryan Mallett and Cameron Newton ... but listed at just 192 pounds, he's nearly 60 pounds lighter. (There's a reason the universal recruiting consensus on the California-bred Bray was "good arm, lots of upside, don't dare put him on the field until he's had a year to fill out.") And he'll be facing Alabama, so yes, some good luck will likely be required to make it out in one piece.

There are a few things working in Bray's favor. He'll be playing at home in Neyland Stadium, for one, rather than facing the foaming hordes in Tuscaloosa. He's already seen some game action this season, entering in garbage time against UT-Martin and Georgia and completing 11 of his 18 passes (albeit with one interception no scores as of yet). And he won't face the burden of starting just yet -- Dooley's plan appears to be to start the up-and-down Matt Simms and bring Bray in at the first sign of trouble.

But there's only so many ways to spin "head coach of 2-4 team with terrible offense turns to fencepost-thin true freshman quarterback against defending national champions." The obvious conclusion -- that Dooley feels his back against the wall and wants to leave no tricks in the bag in his search for a season-salvaging win -- is the correct one here.


Posted on: October 9, 2010 1:43 pm

Georgia taking its frustration out on Tennessee

Posted by Tom Fornelli

So far this season the only thing anybody has talked about when it comes to the Georgia Bulldogs is what's gone wrong.  Today, everything is going right.  The Bulldogs are using all the frustration from the first five weeks of the season and are taking it out on Tennessee.   Late in the second quarter the Bulldogs hold a 27-7 lead over the Vols, taking advantage of a Tennessee defense that seems all too willing to give them whatever they'd like.

Aaron Murray has thrown two touchdowns in the half and run for another, giving Georgia its first points on a 35-yard touchdown run.  Tennessee has responded by turning the ball over twice on special teams along with an interception from Matt Simms.

Safe to say that if the Bulldogs had been playing like this all season, there wouldn't be nearly as much talk about Mark Richt's job status in Athens these days.

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Posted on: October 7, 2010 1:16 pm

Matt Simms has 'mastered how to take a sack'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

They say practice makes perfect, and if that is indeed the case, then it's no surprise that Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms feels he's really good at one particular aspect of his job.  Simms has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the SEC, 18 times in five games, which means the Tennessee offensive line is allowing 3.6 sacks a game.

Which is good enough to rank them 117 out of 120 FBS schools.

The offensive line shouldn't worry about it, though, because Simms is pretty good at taking them.  In fact, he thinks he's "mastered" the art of getting leveled by a blitzing linebacker.

"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," said Simms on Wednesday. "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."

Which, in a way, just about sums up the entire Volunteers season for Tennessee fans.  Just relax and welcome the deathblow.

Simms in on pace to be sacked 43 times this season, and that doesn't include the countless hits he's taking after getting rid of the ball.  On Saturday against LSU I saw about eight pass plays in a row in which Simms either ended up being sacked or knocked on his butt.  At that rate he'll be a full-fledged sack swami by November.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:24 pm

LSU and Tennessee tied 7-7 at halftime

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I start this post off with that highlight of Jordan Jefferson 's 83-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter because since then this game has been a whole lot of ugly.  LSU has 216 yards of offense in the first half, but once you remove Jefferson's run from that total, it becomes a lot less impressive.  Instead it's been more of the same things we saw against West Virginia last week.

The Tigers have turned the ball over twice, and when they weren't turning it over they were spending their time dropping snaps, passes, or just plain overthrowing receivers by 20 yards.  In other words, Jordan Jefferson is putting the entire repertoire on display this afternoon.

Why Les Miles and Gary Crowton do anything other than hand the ball to Stevan Ridley, I'll never know.

The good news for LSU is that its defense is still its defense.  Tennessee managed to score a touchdown late in the first quarter, but the majority of the time the Vols have been peeling Matt Simms off the ground.  The LSU defensive line is manhandling Tennessee's offensive line, and they're making Simms pay just about every time he drops back to pass.

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