Sims: "I'll be ready to play"

Damian Sims spoke with the media following Iowa's open practice on Saturday. Read what he had to say on his role on this team, his penchant for long plays, and what he plans to do now that camp is over. That and more in this premium transcript.

Q: (A question on who is returning punts)

Damian Sims: It'll probably be me and a few other guys back there. We don't know who's going to start, but hopefully it'll be me and somebody else.

Q: Who's been out there, who's been impressive?

Sims: Me and Charles, I think Coach Erb is really liking the freshman Paul Chaney for punt returns. All of the freshmen came in, they've been catching the ball pretty well. Especially for freshmen, back there doing it. They've been doing live drills, I don't think I've seen any one of them drop the ball yet, might be one of those guys back there.

Q: Where do you see yourself fitting in? AY's the main guy, you came in last year made the long runs, made a splash, but it's consistency you want, isn't it?

Sims: Yeah, I mean I would like to get the ball more, but like you said, Albert had a great year. Whenever I get the chance this year, I'll hopefully do something similar to what I did last year. That was last year, this is going to be a new year. We'll see.

Q: You think you'll return kicks?

Sims: Yeah, still returning kicks, getting some more on offense.

Q: Any little morsel you can get, as far as playing time.

Sims: Yep

Q: How do you use that role to make yourself better for the future?

Sims: I just take everything in stride. Try to get better every day. You never know, if Albert gets hurt, I'll be the starter.

Q: What does Albert tell you, does he kind of mentor you?

Sims: Nah, not really. Me and Albert are cool, when I got here, he was like a big brother to me. When we were in camp, he taught me the ins and outs, what to look for, then I kind of going on my own. That's what I do with Dana Brown now, I've been trying to show him some stuff.

Q: Talk about those long runs, what was it like last year, you had the 3 longest runs on the team, but it kind of gets chalked up to 'Well, it was late in the game' stuff like that.

Sims: I don't worry about that. I feel like if I was playing in the first quarter I would have done the same thing. It doesn't really matter to me.

Q: Still like to make that crack in the line when you do it against another team's best.

Sims: They gave me the ball a lot in the Minnesota game, and I got 100 yards, as opposed to getting it 3 times. It doesn't matter to me. Whenever I get the ball.

Q: What do you need to do to complete your game. You can run, is it blocking, is it pass-catching?

Sims: Every running back needs to work on their pass blocking. Coach has been telling me I've been doing pretty good with it. That was my problem, picking up blitzes. IDing the defense, figuring out who's coming. Anybody can run the ball. The higher you get up, the more you've got to learn the other stuff. I can catch the ball, it's just pass protection, but I think I've been doing pretty good with it. Coaches haven't been telling me that I haven't been, so as far as I know, I've been doing OK with it.

Q: What about you and Albert at the same time?

Sims: We've been working with stuff similar to that. Me and Albert, Me and Shonn, just different things the coaches have been working on. Different ways of getting us on the field at the same time, create some mis-matches, things like that.

Q: Do you think you've proven that you're a big-play back, that you can take it the distance at any time?

Sims: Hopefully I've been showing that I can make some big plays. But I would like to play a lot more. But the situation, Albert is probably one of the better running backs in the country.

Q: Hard to be patient?

Sims: I feel like I can do similar things. I'll take whatever I can get. I don't have any ill-will towards anybody. Whenever I get a chance, I'll be ready to play.

Q: It seems like there's a pent-up competitiveness. (Sims smiles) Yeah, that smile right there.

Sims: Like I said, I don't know any running back that wants to come to school and back up somebody. Everybody wants to play. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out like that. We all compete. When we come back from 9-on-7, did you see this, see that, we're always critiquing each other, 'I don't think you could have gotten out on this one.' You've got to have competitiveness, we don't want to get complacent and start feeling ourselves a bit too much, stop getting better, basically.

Q: Albert won't get a hit until Montana. That means you get extra work, what has that done with you, how do you try and maximize that? While they're protecting him, you're the guy.

Sims: I've only been hit that last scrimmage. I haven't been doing anything either, so as far as live drills, I get a few reps and then the coaches sit me down. Just make sure that while I was in there I did something productive, didn't make an old mistake. Just try and get better every day.

Q: Seems like it's safe to say you're going to be used the way you were used at the end of last year throughout this season. It seems like they're making a concerted effort to get you involved, can you sense that?

Sims: Yeah. They've definitely been making an effort to get Me, Shonn, and Albert on the field as much as they can. We've always said, we always feel like we've got one of the best backfields in the country, with Drew, Albert, everybody. We've got a lot of talent, but there's not enough balls to go around for everybody. You can't keep everybody happy. They're doing the best they can with it, they're coming up with little plays and just little stuff to keep everybody interested. Once everybody starts feeling like, 'I'm not involved' the morale goes down, stuff like that. They've been doing pretty well.

Q: You get your keys back today, where are you going first?

Sims: I'm going home. I'm ready to relax.

Q: A certain kind of food you haven't been able to get to?

Sims: I'm so tired of grilled chicken. We've had grilled chicken every day. I'm probably going to have my girlfriend make me some, I think she's making spaghetti and catfish, my favorite meal that she makes. I'm going to eat when I get home, just relax, get a nap. I'm tired of waking up on someone else's clock.

Q: If you had the choice, when would you wake up?

Sims: Whenever my body tells me. Now that I'm out, I can't sleep like I want to. I guess my body is used to it. I've been going to summer school the whole summer, then going back right when camp was going we didn't have a chance to sleep until 10:00 or 11:00, you're waking up at 6 or 7 o'clock, just like when you're in school. Sometimes even when I get a break I can't even enjoy my sleep, my body just wakes up.


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