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October 24, 2008

Football is fun for Sims again

Football is fun for Marcus Sims again. And, he said, it's been a while since he could say that.

"The last time I really had fun was in high school," he said. "Now that everything's coming together, I'm actually beginning to like the game again."

Sims came to Florida State as one of the nation's top high school recruits, but he didn't immediately rocket up the depth chart. He had just eight carries and one catch in 2006. His role looked like it would expand in 2007, but he fractured his ankle against Alabama and was lost for the season.

His hiatus got even longer when he was forced to sit the first four games if the 2008 season for his part in the athletic department's academic misconduct scandal. That impatience started to build and football got a lot less enjoyable.

But there finally came the point where Sims realized it was time to start growing up, taking the classroom more seriously and taking football more seriously. And, he said, it was time to stop sweating so much of the little stuff.

"I'm 21 now," Sims said. "I am more mature. I don't let much get to me. It just rolls off my back. If I get yelled at, it's there for two or three minutes and I have to let it go. I know that, because thinking about it is going to bother me and I'm not going to play to my full potential."

Sims added that just because he came to that reckoning didn't mean it was easy to accept. Now that he has, though, impatience has been pushed to the wayside and pride has taken its place.

"It was tough," he said. "It took a lot of work. I don't even know how to explain how good it feels to actually accomplish something within yourself."

Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said he could tell the difference as he's watched Sims practice this year.

"His attitude and perception coming back this year - not that it was bad before - but it was a much more mature approach to how he went about practice," Fisher said.

Sims also has added a new wrinkle to his game, that of a receiver. He caught five passes for 38 yards against North Carolina State, more passes than he's caught in the entirety of either of his first two seasons.

He didn't let his time away from the game field go to waste. Rather than just sit around, he started hanging with the quarterbacks at practice catching their passes. He started to see the results of that decision pretty quickly.

"I think I had pretty decent hands before," Sims said. "Before, when the quarterbacks would go over and throw, I never really caught with them. Once I went over there and caught with a couple different quarterbacks, I figured out which ones throw hardest and which just throw a really good ball."

There's a good chance Sims' role could expand even more in the coming games. When Fisher arrived, Sims said they talked about how Fisher incorporates the fullback into his offense, like he did with Jacob Hester at LSU. Sims feels he's ready for that role and if that becomes his role, football might become even more fun.

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