Ernie Sims says there's plenty of time for improvement. And, for what it's worth, Sims is having the time of his life as Florida State continues its summer workouts in preparation for the upcoming season.
"It is a different atmosphere," Sims said.
"At NFC, we had a lot of hard workers but here you have all kind of talent. Amazing people and different kind of people. It's amazing out here."
Touted as the nation's top prep recruit last year out of nearby North Florida Christian, Sims and his Florida State teammates concluded testing with the 40-yard dash at Mike Long Track. Sims, who ran with the first group tested, said he was clocked at a 4.44. That mark was two one-hundredths of a second behind leader B.J. Ward (4.42).
"I guess I can say I am happy," Sims said of his time. "I think I could have done a little better (4.44) but, hey, it's good for right now. There's always time to get better."
Fellow prized recruit Antonio Cromartie also felt he could have posted a better time, saying he was clocked at 4.5. Many players complained they slipped on their start on the resurfaced track.
"I could have done better, but everything is going real good," said Cromartie, a heralded athlete from nearby Lincoln High School.
Both Sims and Cromartie are looking to contribute this season. Sims expects to play weak side linebacker, while Cromartie has impressed his new teammates at cornerback. The pair also has enjoyed the competitive pace of summer workouts.
"(I am) learning the plays and having fun doing that," Cromartie said.
"Last year, when I came out in the summer and watch them work out, there's a lot more players out here this year than last year. I think by everyone coming out they want to show they want to win more than they did last year. I am just coming out and working hard, so I don't have to redshirt. That's not in my vocabulary."
While the newcomers look to impress, veterans such as linebacker Michael Boulware helped set the tone Tuesday. Despite a 10-pound weight gain, Boulware said he was clocked at 4.45. Boulware is hopeful of keeping the added muscle when two-a-days begin next month.
"I wanted to gain 15, 20 pounds and still stay in the 4.4, 4.3 range. I was able to gain 10 pounds and I actually got faster -- that's always a bonus," Boulware said. "I weigh 236 today -- my official weight is 232. I played last year at 215 to 218. I think I reached 220. I am hoping to go into two-a-days at 240 to 245. I am going to lose weight, so hopefully I can stay around 230."
Boulware believes testing days like Tuesday help bring the team together. Snapper Brian Sawyer sported sunglasses when he ran. Cornerback Rufus Brown, meanwhile, clocked a 4.5 after working a full day with the construction crew on Doak Campbell Stadium. Then there was tight end Matt Henshaw, who has been dubbed "White Lightning" by his teammates when he clocked a 4.51.
Chris Rix was the lone quarterback to be timed.
"This brings us closer together, watching everybody, seeing how much everyone has progressed," Boulware said. "It was great. Everybody is working really, really hard. Everyone is attending all the workouts, so it looks really good right now."