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Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Bad timing for Sims' suspension

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

James Sims led Kansas in rushing in each of the past two season. The Irving, Texas, native and power runner bulldozed his way to 1,469 yards and 18 touchdowns as the Jayhawks' starter.

Sims, though, won't be the starter for the first three games of 2012.
Kansas junior running back James Sims has been suspended for the first three games of 2012 for a violation of team rules. Sims was arrested on Sunday morning on charges of operating a vehicle under the influence and released on bail shortly after.

"Every player on our team knows and understands our rules and regulations," Kansas coach Charlie Weis said in a release. "They also know the consequences for violations."

If Sims didn't know already, he does now. But for the rising junior, he couldn't pick a worse time to make his mistake. Former coach Turner Gill looked like he believed in Sims. As a true freshman and again as a sophomore, he emerged as the featured back in a talented stable of backs.

Under Weis, though? It's a fresh start for everyone, and that backfield is still super talented, even though Weis dismissed freshman speedster Darrian Miller earlier this offseason. Miller would have been the best choice to fill Sims' void next fall.

Now? Look out for sophomores Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon. Gill didn't have many successes at Kansas, but he left a whole lot of talent at running back. That was the case in both seasons.

Sims may emerge as the featured back again, but it's going to be difficult. Come fall camp, would Weis really give a hefty share of valuable practice reps to a running back he won't have for the first three games of the season?

KU opens the season against South Dakota State, Rice and TCU. The first two are no doubt winnable games for Kansas.

As for those reps, Sims better hope he takes advantage of the ones he gets. If Bourbon or Pierson takes control of the position early in the season, Sims may not get his spot back.