FSU's Joyner likes the fact that Tigers might be the favorites this season

by - Staff Writer -

GREENSBORO, N.C.- Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner was a walking, talking quote machine and provider of bulletin board material at Sunday’s ACC Kickoff in Greensboro, and compared playing in Clemson’s Death Valley to a walk down a dark alley.

However, Joyner says that he and his teammates aren’t intimated and thinks that they can shock the world by beating Clemson in Death Valley for the first time since 2001.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge. I learned that my sophomore year, but it’s also a great experience,” Joyner told the assembled media Sunday at the Grandover Resort. “We are looking forward to it. We know it’s not going to be a walk in the park. It’s going to be a walk in a dark alley. It’s going to be us against the whole nation because we aren’t going to have anyone on our side. We want to shock the nation. We want to quiet everyone.”

History is not on the Seminoles side after losing five straight to the Tigers in Death Valley, but Joyner said that at end of the day the best man will win after 60 minutes of football.

“I think the nation is helping us by making them the favorite and making us the underdog,” Joyner said. “Football is about intimidation, so if you think about that we lose because we lost the last however many years. We just have to forget about that and know that this is our time and this is a new year. Not to disrespect history, but at the end of the day guys have to understand that Clemson is a very good team and Death Valley is a very tough environment to play in, but you have to play 60 minutes of football and may the best man win.”

If the Seminoles are going to quiet the critics, Joyner- who moved to cornerback during the offseason- will have to limit Clemson’s Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
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, and Joyner said that Florida State has players just as good as Watkins to get the job done.

“You’ve got to compete. I don’t think he’s a guy that you can defeat on paper- play Sammy Watkins 30 yards off and do this or do that,” he said. “He’s going to get his so you just have to compete. We have to let him know that we’ve got guys at Florida State that are just as good as him.”

With the addition of new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, the Seminoles are pressing more, but Joyner isn’t concerned with pressing Watkins who is known for his speed.

“We have to press. We have guys other than Xavier Rhodes that can press,” he said. “Anybody can be pressed. Sammy Watkins is just a man and yes he can be pressed. He will be pressed lots of times. Anyone can be pressed. That’s how I feel about that.”

Joyner expects Watkins to be a different player than he was during his freshmen and sophomore seasons, but he says nobody on the Florida State team fears Watkins.

“Sammy Watkins may be a different player. Look at his freshman year and then last year,” he said. “Was there a drop-off? Yes. Was he the same player? He was the same person, but not the same player. Football is football. You can’t go off what someone did in the past. Yes he’s Sammy Watkins, but that’s just a name tied to a man who straps on his pads like the other 10 players that I have on my team and that will start with me. There’s no fear at Florida State.”

Joyner and the Seminoles are accustomed to being at the top and he said that Clemson will have to provide its own motivation every week or else it’s only a matter of time before the Tigers will falter.

“We like that. We definitely like that they are the favorites,” Joyner said. “I pray for them and hope the best for them, but that’s a lot of pressure. When you are the favorites, the only thing you can do is go down. You’ve got to endure when you are on top like that and you’ve got everybody on your side. You’ve got to find motivation versus the underdog when you are inspired.”

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