After redshirt year Sims ready to play

ATHENS – Georgia's secondary may have lost Thomas Davis early to the NFL Draft, but several players return, including two seniors. That makes the Bulldog secondary one of the best units on the team. But one young player in the secondary is trying to fight his way to a starting spot where Davis once roamed.

Antonio Sims redshirted his first season in Athens and has been thrust into competition for the starting rover spot due to several different factors. First, Davis' departure, which was expected, left Tra Battle as the number one rover going into the spring. Second, Battle was injured in a car accident at the start of spring drills, which left him on the sideline during most of the workouts. Lastly, Kelin Johnson, who is listed behind Greg Blue at the free safety spot, did not close the door on a move to playing rover full time.

So the opportunity for Sims to make a move for the starting job in the fall is certainly there.

"I've got a couple of guys in front of me, and I just have to go out there and compete for a position," he said. "I have to develop my knowledge of the game, and Tra Battle and Greg Blue have been helping me with that. I've been coming in and watching film with Coach Martinez. It's going to take me learning more about the game."

While players like Sims and Johnson are listed in one of the two safety spots on the depth chart, they can be flip-flopped if necessary. Sims knows that and says he is getting ready for that – should it happen.

"I've got to learn both safety positions, regardless, so that I'll be ready for whatever might happen," he said.

Sims said he also realizes that special teams will be a vital part of his playing time next fall. Because of his athleticism and speed, Sims has done well during special teams drills this spring. The 6-0, 177 redshirt freshman knows that playing special teams is important for his playing possibilities.

"Special teams are going great for me now. Since Coach Fabris came back it's been – the special teams are going to be there with him. I think the special teams are going to be better than last year," he said. The Bulldogs were saddled with poor special teams plays at times in 2004 – it may have cost them a loss against SEC East rival Tennessee.

But another area where the Bulldogs must improve is getting more interceptions. Last year Georgia nabbed only five interceptions – worst in the SEC.

"Coach Martinez has worked on our ball skills a lot so we can get more interceptions during the season. We were hurting pretty bad last year – we were like 114th in the nation in interceptions. We are getting better at it now," Sims said.

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