Is Quarterback Phillip Sims Souring on Virginia Cavaliers?

By Tyler Brett
Peter Casey – USA TODAY Sports

After splitting time under center last season, quarterback Phillip Sims voiced some frustration about how his time with the Virginia Cavaliers was going. The one-time Alabama Crimson Tide transfer vowed to “get back to being me” following the 2012 season. When he spoke again with the media following spring practice on Saturday, it doesn’t appear that frustration has gotten any better this offseason. Is Sims souring on his UVA experience?

From his comments to the media, it is certainly sounding like it. When asked if he had been able to get back to being himself this offseason, Sims replied:

“It really looks like it’s headed in the opposite direction, but it is what it is. I’m here to play football, man. Nobody wants to hear the excuses about what’s going with this; how is this going? If I can’t be me, I got to be as close as I can be.

“It’s hard to kind of explain.”

Sims returns to Virginia for his junior season as the most experienced quarterback on the depth chart. In 2012, he appeared in 12 games, starting four, throwing for 1,263 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. His experience, coupled with Michael Rocco, who split starts with Sims last year, transferring out, made Sims the likely favorite to be the starting quarterback in 2013.

Despite all of that experience, however, Sims found himself third on the depth chart this spring behind David Watford and Greyson Lambert. Head coach Mike London and offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild downplayed the significance of a spring depth chart and told reporters that the favorite for the position and the reps they take each day in practice are in constant flux.

The junior quarterback didn’t seem to completely buy that when asked about the depth chart by reporters.

“It is what it is. I don’t know nothing about how it came that way or what’s going on. It is what is is, man.”

That frustration could be leading to attitude issues that is making Sims clash with his coaching staff. It would be easy to understand it as Sims seemingly was enjoying his time at Alabama before transferring closer to home for a family issue. Being forced to a program that wasn’t your first choice and then getting used sparingly before being passed over in spring ball can be tough to swallow.

But if Virginia hopes to find success in a competitive ACC next season, they will need Sims to be a happy and productive member of the football team. Whatever it takes to let Sims “be himself,” the Virginia coaching staff needs to get it done and bring the talented and disgruntled quarterback into the mix.

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