I find images on Ilford RC paper emarge in the devleoper very quick, just don't reef it out at that point, leave it for the minute. If it's too dark, lower the exposure time. 3.5sec s@ f11 for a 8x10 with no filter sounds reasonable compared to my enlargers. I've read where really short exposure times are not desired as the paper needs longer to react, but I think that's incorrect, I regularly do 1.x sec exposures (small prints, like postcards) and they are fine. To dodge and burn you need longer, but as far as I have seen, the paper reacts to the exposure given, it's not real fussy. for whites to be grey, check your safelight as Bob mentioned, or if that checks out ok, reduce the exposure until the whites are white/off white, whatever you want them. In printing, generally it's expose for the highlights, change grades for contrast (dialing in filtration using a colour head will alter the time unless you use the dual filter method, and even then I reckon you might need to fine tune it... I don't use that method so that's a guess) So, maybe you're over printing it to get some blacks in there when you should be adding filtration (higher grade paper)