July 13, 2024

Good first impression; Busters making strides entering 2015 season

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-It doesn’t take very long watching a Garden City Community College football practice to realize what’s being set in motion. 

“Our goal isn’t to beat Highland and Dodge City,” Head Coach Jeff Sims said on Sunday. “Our goal is to better than the guys we line up against everyday; whether it’s in practice or not.”

Sims message has echoed throughout the first 10 days of camp, especially during a time where temperatures are soaring close to triple digits. And as cliche as it sounds, when he talks people listen. 

“Our guys are struggling putting two days together,” Sims added. “Good isn’t good enough. If you want to come out here and get patted on the back, then you’re not going to get better.”

Trying to curb the turnover trend

Giveaways were a major bugaboo for Matt Miller last season. The Broncbusters turned it over 37 times and were tied for the seventh worst turnover margin in the nation. That doesn’t sit well with the new man in charge. 

“Why are we giving games away?” Sims said emphatically. “Ball security is a must. Turnovers will not be tolerated.”

Sims pointed to once specific example during last week’s practice when one of his receivers caught a slant from Kevin Olsen. As he turned up field, the ball was stripped from behind, and the defense recovered. 

“The receiver did everything we wanted him to do there; he won that specific play,” Sims said. “But then he turns it over. That’s unacceptable.”

In last year’s season finale, Garden City gave the ball up nine times on their way to an 84-21 loss to Coffeyville. 

Sims and his staff are doing all they can to make that seem like a distant memory. 

Stable of running backs

In 2009, during his team’s run to the national title game, Fort Scott produced one of the most dynamic ground attacks in the entire country. And while it’s impossible to project exactly what will transpire in Garden City in 2015, one thing is for sure: they won’t be short on running backs. 

“In this league, you have to be able run the football,” Sims explained. “But you also have to have the offensive line to do it.”

Three backs that have stood out during the first week of camp include Missouri Southern transfer Shannon Saunders, former University of Texas commit Kevin Shorter and Jacksonville, FL. native Taylor Thomas, who originally committed to Oregon State back in January. 

“We’ve got the guy that can run between the tackles,” Sims said. “We also have the guy who can make the cutback.”

The most inspirational of the group might be Shorter, who signed with Texas out of Newton High School but was diagnosed with a narrowing of his spinal chord. Both Mack Brown and current Longhorns coach Charlie Strong honored the three-star recruit’s scholarship before Shorter ultimately left the program and signed with Sims a couple of months ago.