Florida State opens its season Monday in Pittsburgh, as the Panthers get their first taste of ACC football. But there's nearly as much transition for the Seminoles, who will be breaking in six new assistant coaches, a new quarterback and a new defensive scheme. We caught up with FSU cornerback Lamarcus Joyner to see how they've adapted to those changes as the Seminoles get set for the start of the season.
Q: You're just a few days away from the opener. Are you excited to start hitting the guys on another team after a long offseason?
A: It got to the point that we only want to watch film now. We're so tired of beating up on each other. We're just ready to go play football. We're not the favorite in everyone's eyes this year. Everyone's saying it's a trap game. So it's now a time to come together and put all of what we did in fall camp and go show everybody we can play some football.
Q: You've moved from safety to cornerback this offseason. Do you feel more comfortable at corner now than you did this spring?
A: I totally do. I feel very confident in it. My coaches feel very confident. I said earlier, I'm a defensive back, and if they need me to play safety, I can jump right back. But mentally, I've gotten back the corner transition the right way. I feel confident, and I feel like I'm going to have a very successful season.
Q: New coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has brought a lot of changes to the defense. Are you feeling good about how well you've been able to grasp things?
A: It's a very dangerous defense, and we bought into it. That's all you can do. It's something new, and you're excited to go work and go show it. I think it's a dangerous defense, it's going to cause a lot more turnovers. But everything looks good on paper when it's presented new. We believe in it, we think it's going to be a great defense.
Q: What do you expect to see from your new QB, Jameis Winston, when he gets his first action as a college player against Pitt?
A: Nothing but big time. You know great players when you see it. Some guys, you question. Some guys, you try to beat around the bush with. He's a talented kid and everybody knows it. He's going to perform the same under the lights as he does in practice, because he's going against the best every day. I think he's used to the limelight. He played baseball. He had a big-time college career already in baseball. They have big crowds out there. He's just a great kid, and he's going to be a good one for us.
Q: You've gone against some big-play receivers in the past. Where does Pitt's Devin Street stack up?
A: You can watch someone on film and say, “He's good” but you never know until you get that feel going against him. I've seen a lot of great receivers that were devious on film, that you wouldn't have thought was good. He looks very good watching him on film, but I never know until I have to bump-and-run against him. I've seen better receivers before. I've been around some good ones. But he's probably top 10. He's well-polished.
Q: You guys have to wait all the way until Monday night to play. What's the plan for the weekend while every other team is getting a head start?
A: You stay focused. We've had a lot of motivational speakers this summer. One thing that touched me was, people always talk about [Michael] Jordan and how he did in games. Jordan said he doesn't change. It's the people, when game time comes, that change. So everything we do at practice, we'll do when we go out there. If it works, it works. If it fails, it fails and we'll have to fix as an organization. But we're very confident in what we did this whole fall camp, what we did in practice, and we believe in what we're doing. Everybody's bought into it, so there's no need to be anxious about it. We're just excited.