The statement had little relevance two months ago, but now it looks like Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms may be in the foreshadowing business.
“I don’t know who it was, I did an interview with someone in the summer; they asked me who was one team I’d love to go against. I said ‘LSU,’” Simms said. “And I got what I wished for.
“Just in time for the No. 1 team in the country.”
The interview was an exclusive with The Daily Beacon for the 2011 Football Preview, which ran Sept. 2 before UT’s season opener against Montana.
At the time, Simms, the junior college transfer from El Camino (Calif.) Community College who played at Louisville before that, was nine months removed from having his starting spot overtaken by then-freshman Tyler Bray, who never turned back once he became the starter against Memphis on Nov. 6.
During Tennessee’s 20-12 loss to Georgia last week though, Bray fractured his right thumb late in the fourth quarter, leading to the Simms’ first significant playing time of the season yet.
 “I don’t know what happened to Tyler, I just knew that everyone was screaming my name, and I just ran over there,” the senior said after the game.
Simms completed 4-of-5 passes on the Vols’ only touchdown drive, which he capped with a 1-yard run for the score.
“The biggest thing that has helped me so far this year is that I’ve tried my best to prepare like I was the starter,” he said. “I think that helped me perform the way I did against Georgia when I came in like that. Now it is just continuing to do that, and obviously a little bit more now.”
 Even though it was unlikely Simms would play a significant role on the field for the Vols, he chose not to transfer.
“Why would you leave a place like Tennessee?” he said. “Especially with all of the great teams that we play. Not everyone can wear the orange and white and run through the ‘T.’ It’s a great all-around experience and that’s why I didn’t leave.”
UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said Simms’ second chance is translating to a new energy in practice.
 “Just watching practice, he’s excited,” Chaney said. “You know, tough loss for us, but we come out on the field and we’ve got a young man that’s going to play whose got a lot of renewed energy and excited about getting on the field that’s helping with getting on the field right now and having practices upbeat for us. He’s tickled and I’m excited for Matt to let him go out there and play.”
On the bench, Chaney noticed Simms’ improvement this season.
 “I think he sat back and watched defenses a lot and has a lot better understanding of some of the things you see in the SEC now,” Chaney said. “You’ve got to believe that, and I believe that, about any quarterback that’s played and had a chance to calm down a little bit and go back in and play, I think it always benefits. They seem to understand more when they walk out there.”
 Coach Derek Dooley said he was proud of Simms and his attitude throughout the ordeal of losing the starting spot, because the No. 2 position is still highly relevant.
 “When you’re the two, you know as a coach it’s one snap and he’s in,” Dooley said.
“I’m glad we have Matt and we don’t have to shift with someone with no experience or no command of the offense,” Dooley said. “That is a bonus. I hope it pays off for us in the game. Matt is doing today what he has done every week: preparing well. He has good command of what we’re doing and we expect him to go manage the offense.”