But talking to Sims, you get the feeling the pain of a broken wrist that came when he tackled a teammate in practice was minor compared to the frustration of not being able to be out on the field competing. That'll change Wednesday as Sims is expected back in the lineup. He doesn't think the cast on his wrist will hinder his play.
"It's not going to be a full cast," he said. "I'll still be able to grab. I'm not too worried about it. I just want to get back out there."
Ask Sims about his wrist, and he really doesn't want to talk about it. Ask him about the Colorado secondary, however, and he gets animated, his voice rises.
"Everyone's competing," he says. "You can't tell the difference between the people playing with the ones and twos and threes….Expectations are great.
"We're holding our standards very high. We want to carry the team on our shoulders. That's our objective. I could go on for days about it. The couple days I've been out, to watch them be able to perform at this level is amazing."
Fellow senior DB Terry Washington is as passionate about the state of the secondary as Sims. And he's as determined to stay on the field.
Washington is playing with a cast himself these days. He broke a bone on the top part of his hand on the fifth play in last Friday's scrimmage. Washington knew right away it was broken, but with Sims out and fellow corner Terrence Wheatley leaving the scrimmage with a wrist injury that later checked out fine, Washington didn't want to have his hand x-rayed until after the scrimmage. He had the bone set in a big cast that extends from his two outside fingers up to near his elbow. But he hasn't missed a day of practice from it.
"I wouldn't say it's a set-back or anything," Washington said. "I'm still out here playing to the best of my abilities. I can still bat down balls."
Washington is in the mix at cornerback, along with Sims, Wheatley, Gardner McKay and two freshmen, Jalil Brown and Chapelle Brown. Add safeties J.J. Billingsley, Ben Burney, Ryan Walters and Lionel Harris to the equation and Washington speaks words of high praise of the secondary.
"The defensive backs, right now I'd rank us at least in the top 5 in the nation," he said. "That's just how I feel. We have a lot of competition at corner and safety. We work hard every day."
Of course talk doesn't mean anything unless the Buffs can back it up on the field. But an optimist might point to the secondary's improved play as a contributing factor to why the CU passing game has yet to find its footing this camp. Sims says the reason the DBs are playing well in practice is a combination of experience and coaching.
"I think it's partly the seniors, I think it's partly Coach Brown and what he brings to us," Sims said. "We enjoy being with him and playing for him. And by that, I mean, we enjoy going out there and making plays."
Tuesday Two-a-Day Practice Notes
• The team practiced hard in the morning, then Dan Hawkins cut short the afternoon practice by an hour to give the players' some rest.
• Wide receiver Alvin Barnett was ticketed for a driving infraction in the spring that was initially going to be a DUI. The situation was going to cost Barnett a team-imposed one-game suspension. Hawkins, however, said on Tuesday that the courts had dropped the DUI case and Barnett was being ticketed for a misdemeanor driving offense. Hawkins said he'll revisit the punishment, and that it likely won't be a one-game suspension.
• Tackle Edwin Harrison was in pads again, but wasn't participating in the end-of-practice 11-on-11 situations (shoulder) in the morning.
• After practice, senior Mell Holliday spent several minutes talking to RS freshman Kevin Moyd about keeping his effort up. Moyd has been getting better reps in practice in recent days, and Holliday was imploring him not to let up or else he'd slip back down the ladder in the eyes of the coaches.
• One of the big surprises of the past week has been the emergence of walk-on receiver Cody Crawford. Hawkins stood him up in front of the team recently and pointed to him as an example of toughness. He fractured a rib recently, and hasn't missed a practice. Hawkins said he just keeps making plays in practice. Crawford has been running a lot of reps with the first and second teams of late.
• Instead of a team vote — which Hawkins usually does — coaches will decide team captains this fall. They will likely be named before the start of next week, Hawkins said.
• Asked about senior receiver Blake Mackey, Hawkins said he's still needs to be more consistent, and is still dealing with the mental aspect of getting over knee surgery. He's shown flashes, but needs that every play, every day.
• Offensive lineman Erik Faatagi will redshirt after undergoing knee surgery. They found an issue with a former knee injury and decided to get it taken care of. He'll have two years to play two after this season.
• Walter Boye-Doe is still day to day after suffering a concussion in the scrimmage. They are testing him for after-effects daily.
• The annual Kickoff Luncheon was held in Denver Tuesday afternoon. Politicos and bigwigs from the universities joined the CU and CSU coaches at the function. Word is, the CSU president razzed Hawkins by telling him Sept. 9 was going to be CSU Day at Invesco Field when the Buffs and the Rams meet. Hawkins said after Tuesday's practice that he didn't have a retort for the CSU head honcho, but that the comment was duly "noted."