One is a seasoned collegiate defender making a move from one defensive back slot to the other. The other is a returning sophomore looking to build off a 2012 season that saw him named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. However this season when you put the names ‘Lamarcus Joyner‘ and ‘Ronald Darby‘ together, the Florida State Seminoles may have the best corner duo in the country.
With the losses of defensive line mainstays such as Bjoern Werner, Brandon Jenkins, and Tank Carradine to the NFL recently, there’s a lot of questions surrounding that vaunted FSU pass rush and where it’s headed in the future. Should the pass rushing efforts of the ‘Noles defense suffer through a bit of regression from previous seasons, Joyner and Darby will be right there to let you know that life won’t necessarily be easier just because you were able to get the ball released.
Of the duo, although he’s the veteran, Joyner has the biggest questions hovering over him. In this his senior season, Joyner is making the move to the corner slot from strong safety to fill the void left by Xavier Rhodes. People normally don’t take into account how much the different view of the play matters when moving from one spot to the other on defense, but it does. This is the area that Joyner will have to get the most acclimated to. The view from the side compared to over-the-top is vastly different. Taking new angles on tackles and having to time his breaks on a ball in the air differently might prove tough to get used to.
However, work over the summer as well as implementing his freakish athletic abilities should make the transition easier and have Joyner ready to be locking down on wideouts by the time September rolls around.
Speaking of ‘locking down’….
Ronald Darby was thrust into a difficult situation last season. After the dismissal of All-American CB Greg Reid shortly before last season began, Darby was asked to grow up quickly in his true freshman season. Jimbo Fisher and the coaching staff put enough trust in the young man to put him on the field and give him the proverbial trial by fire treatment.
While there were some noticeable growing pains in his first few games, Darby gave FSU fans, coaches, and teammates the best sign you can give–progression. He got better and better as the season grew longer. When 2012 was all said and done, Darby was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. He became smarter, more physical, and–most importantly–someone the defense can rely on.
If Joyner can show minimal hiccups in regards to his position change and Darby can keep his progression from last season in steady motion, these two together can make the lives of ACC quarterbacks and receivers extremely difficult.