Aug. 14, 2012
By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com
Lamarcus Joyner has always been a player who leads by example. From high school to college, his motivation in both practice and in game situations could never be questioned.
Teammates saw the way he brought passion and energy to the game and immediately followed suit.
But while actions certainly can speak louder than words, Joyner knew he had to develop another aspect of leadership. He had to let his words echo loudly as the team entered fall camp.
"When I was first told that I needed to be more vocal, it was kind of scary because I had never been a leader at a prestigious program like Florida State," Joyner said. "At first it was a real big challenge, but after seeing that those guys feed of you and really believe in you, that just boosts the monster and gives you that edge and drive to do it and that motivation."
He's one of the first players to arrive at practice every day, but his role has morphed into that of a teacher and coach.
It's about showing the young defensive backs the way, which is what Mark Stoops saw in Joyner from day one.
"I love coaching Lamarcus, we do have a great relationship and you have to love coaching someone who plays with that kind of passion and energy," Stoops said. "That's how we try to coach and it means an awful lot to us and it means a lot to Lamarcus. The biggest thing is that passion, that desire, that energy that he can relay to the young guys and the rest of our defense."
"He's more vocal, and then when you have one guy who steps up and says we need to do this the right way, you have five more guys that back him and say that we're going to do this the right way," senior linebacker Vince Williams said.
"A lot of young guys are trying to fill big shoes, and being a new leader and veteran on this team, it's been tough but it's getting better and I'm more at ease with it," Joyner said.
As a safety, it's Joyner's job to see the entire field. To be able to read the quarterback's eyes, see the routes, and cover sideline to sideline. Great players are often defined not only by their big play ability, but how they make everyone else around them better.
"You know what I've been proud of him about is that he's been disciplined," Stoops said. "He's not just out there playing and doing whatever he wants, he's disciplined within our program and within our defense. He's working hard to refine his skills and become more precise."
And that's something that has rubbed off on the entire secondary. With a good mix of veterans and newcomers, his words and actions carry more weight than ever. It's about the team and the bonds developed in the off season.
"We understand that it's about a bond and we have to be a team and a family to get where we need to get," cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. "We have to set the same goals and do the same thing at the same time, we have to think as one and move as one."
"Now we now that we have to get better as a team, offense and defense," Joyner said. "We have to be one unit if we're going to take this thing to a whole new level."
And that's Joyner's role this season, and it's not an easy one. But it's one that he has embraced whole-heartedly. A great leader puts the team above himself, and that's what makes Joyner who he is, both in word and deed.