Sims Turning Over A New Leaf

Defensive tackle Pat Sims talks about his play this preseason and why last season's troubles helped him in the long run.

Auburn, Ala.--Sometimes it just takes longer for players to see the light. Sometimes the light gets directed at their eyes. That was the case for sophomore defensive tackle Pat Sims last season. A highly-recruited player out of Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sims didn't seem to give the effort that was required of a player at Auburn and when pushed by the coaching staff he left the team.

That proved to be just the medicine that Sims needed. Feeling left out of things, Sims asked for another chance from the coaching staff and came back for winter workouts a changed man, or sort of. He played well in the spring, but still at times would be less than enthused about the game. That hasn't the case this fall, position Coach Don Dunn points out.

"His effort is a lot better," Dunn says. "His attitude is better. Hopefully, he'll continue that because he doesn't have a choice. He's got to do it or he's not going to be here. He has responded. I'm happy with that.

"He's always had talent he just needs to grow up," Dunn says. "Some kids grow up earlier or sooner than others. Hopefully, he'll continue. It's not a done deal yet and he knows that. It's got to be every day. He can't come out here Tuesday and slop around again.

"Hopefully, he's grown up and learned a good lesson. Not being a part of the team and hanging out with his teammates, I think he realized a lot. Hopefully, he'll continue to keep that motivation going. He's done well."

Pat Sims works against Tyronne Green during Sunday's practice.

Dunn isn't the only person that has seen a chance in Sims. The people who know him better than anyone are his teammates and one says that the big guy in the middle has a chance to be a difference maker for the Tigers this year if he continues his current play.

"Pat has really turned it up," defensive end Quentin Groves says. "His early years Pat was really kind of on the lazy side. I love Pat to death. He's a more vocal leader. He's out there talking during team. I like it a lot. Pat could be a dominant force in the SEC honestly. I have seen Pat take 300 pound men and just throw them like they're nothing. Once he motivates himself to do something he's going to do it."

For Sims the motivation comes from within. Not happy with himself or his situation last season, he has come back in 2006 ready to be the player everyone thought he would be when he signed with Auburn. Sims says it has everything to do with his trials and tribulations last season.

"It just taught me to be a better person and work harder and not let little things get to me," Sims says. "I'm just looking to the future.

"Last year I was wandering and this year I'm hungry," he adds. "I'm out there to get it. So far I think I'm doing quite well. I'm just going to keep trying to get better every day and work hard."

Not only has Sims responded on the field with his play, he has also become a vocal leader for the Auburn defense. Rarely does a play go by that you don't hear Sims voicing his support for a teammate on the field. That's something he said comes with the territory after losing two seniors last year and with the team looking for someone to step up in their place.

"I'm just trying to help everybody else get better," Sims says. "When they are tired I try to hype them up and give them energy. The same thing from other people. When I'm tired I want someone to boost me up and get me going."

Locked in a battle with senior Christopher Browder and redshirt freshman Sen'Derrick Marks for the starting defensive tackle position, Sims made a move on Sunday and worked with the first unit for a portion of the practice. While he's unsure where he'll wind up on the depth chart heading into the opener he notes he'll continue to work hard and let the chips fall where they may.

"It feels good to know that I could be a starter or back up one of my fellow teammates. Like I said before, whatever the coaches want me to do I'm going to do."

2006 Inside the Auburn Tigers Auburn Football Guide

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