"Right now Major is playing because he's experienced, and he's been shot at and hit," says Davis. "Eventually, there's going to be a battle for the position." Brown goes further than that: "We would like to play two quarterbacks next year." That's a strategy that Brown used with success at North Carolina in 1996 and '97.
Applewhite has handled Simms's arrival with class. Since the start of the summer he has tutored Simms on the intricacies of the college game, even though it could eventually cost him his position. "Suppose we're all working out in the summer, dripping and bending over holding on to our shorts," says Applewhite. "What kind of a team player would I be not to help Chris when we're all supposed to be sweating together?" The two are roommates on game weekends.
But the competition never dies. In a television interview before Saturday's game, Applewhite said he expected Simms to have a great senior season, implying that Simms wouldn't start until Applewhite is gone in two years. "I didn't mean it in a negative way," Applewhite said following the game. "I just started counting my years and figured that Chris would be a senior after I'm gone." He shrugged impishly.
Later, outside the stadium, a cluster of kids surrounded Applewhite, waving programs and hats and T-shirts for him to sign. His future may be uncertain, but the present couldn't have been sweeter.