Jordan Sims sees No. 9 (Breeland Speaks) imprinted in his head on a daily basis.
After all, that's who, for the most part, he is matched up against in every practice.
"Breeland is a great player who is getting his form back this spring," Sims began. "We have one of the better defensive lines in the country, not just Breeland, and it’s making the offensive line better going against them every day. Breeland's motor is unreal. He comes off the ball and just does not stop. He’s explosive, he has great hands and he’s having a tremendous spring, but so are some of the other defensive linemen. They’re getting the Landshark back.
"We go a lot of good-on-good, and it’s really helping us as we learn a new system and prepare for 2017.”
The unit Sims is on — the offensive line — is also getting some good reviews this spring.
"Sean (Rawlings), Javon (Patterson), Rod (Taylor) and myself have been together for a long time. It’s time for us to lead this team and definitely guide the younger offensive linemen," said the starting right guard for the Rebels. “We’re going to attack this season one day at a time and attack each day with all we have. We’re not going to let a bowl ban or last year drag us down. We have a lot to play for — 12 big games staring us in the face."
Sims said the new offense is not much different from an OL standpoint.
"The terminology is different, but Coach (Matt) Luke has kept it simple for us by relating something to what we used to call it to what we call it now and that has made it easier to learn," he said. "What we’re doing is basically the same, we just call it something different. We have some plays where our splits are wider and some minor things like that, but nothing we haven't seen or done in the past.
"We still run tempo, we still go as fast as we can, so there is no difference there."
Rawlings, Patterson, Sims, along with Daronte Bouldin — the middle of the line — is basically set in stone, barring injury. What of the tackles?
"Greg (Little) has come a long way since last year when he was thrown in the fire," Sims explained. "Some people still call him the baby, but from when he got here to now is a big difference, He will be one of the top prospects in the country. His footwork is so much better now. He's twitchy coming out of his stance now. His feet are quicker and he's using his hands better. He’s playing upper-level ball now.
"Rod is a great athlete, so there are no issues there, and Alex (Givens) is now entering his third year after making huge strides last year. He keeps getting better. We’re fine at tackle, and we expect some young guys to keep coming on at all positions."
One of the goals of spring training is better production in the run game, short yardage and goalline,. Has Sims seen improvement there yet?
“We’re getting better there. With the new terminology and tweaks to the scheme, some days are better than others and some things click better than others, but overall I can see steady improvement and look for better things in those areas next fall," he closed.
In the meantime, the battle continues and Jordan Sims buckles up daily as he wages gridiron warfare with a resurgent Rebel defensive line.