Simms is ready to wear Orange or White

A shakeup at quarterback this week at the University of Tennessee has one young man excited about the opportunity it's presenting. For Matt Simms, being the starter come fall for the Volunteers would be a dream come true. Growing up in a family of quarterbacks, Simms is ready to make his own mark in the arena of college football.

With spring practice well over halfway over for Tennessee, what was expected to take all spring and fall may be coming to an early close - the decision about who will be the starting quarterback come September when the Vols open up the 2010 season against Tennessee Martin.

For one of the three signal callers vying for the starting role, Matt Simms is ready to embrace everything that Rocky Top is all about.

"It's very exciting for the coaches to shake things up this early," Simms said Tuesday after practice. "I'm just glad my hard work is paying off. I'm ready to get out of this green jersey and trade it for the color that I came to play for. That's the Orange and White."

Simms has always had a dream to play college football at the highest level, something that a transfer from Louisville and a year stay at a junior college in California has allowed.

It's no secret that Simms comes from a quarterback family.

His father Phil Simms had a very successful college and NFL career, his older brother Chris, who once committed to Tennessee, ended up playing at the other UT in Texas.

"I have been working extremely hard," Simms said. "I'm not going to quit now. Being the starter in the fall would be dream come true. It's something that I have planned for a long time."

New Tennessee quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw was very complimentary of the junior college transfer.

"We aren't really surprised about Matt's success so far," Hinshaw said. "We knew what we were getting with Matt. He has done a good job learning the offense and has shown great leadership so far."

Hinshaw made it clear that Simms still has a lot of work to do on the field.

"All the quarterbacks have a lot of work to do," Hinshaw said. "He has come a long way already this spring but still has a long ways to go."

On Tuesday Derek Dooley announced that Simms would be getting more of the reps with the first team offense, something that put a smile on the young signal caller's face.

"It's exciting," Simms said. "I can't wait for the Orange and White game. It will be a great opportunity for me. I'm looking forward to this week's scrimmage."

Being the team leader and the man under center is something that Simms doesn't take lightly.

"It's a great honor to play quarterback at the University of Tennessee," Simms said. "I couldn't be happier about being here. Now I have to continue to work hard. Good things will happen for me."

It was very obvious during Wednesday's practice that Simms took all the early reps with the first team offense. Tyler Bray took most of the second snaps, with senior Nick Stephens getting fewer reps with the third team.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories