SMU Fall Camp Notebook: Day 2

Come inside for stories and notes from SMU's first football practice!

Joyner Ready To Lead The Stampede

Randall Joyner is the definition of a natural leader.

He SMU inside linebacker is the most vocal player out on the practice field during fall camp but at the same time, he remains humble and also leads by example.

"You hold yourself accountable," Joyner said. "You have to do all the little things right. You can be barking at the younger guys and expect them to do stuff your not doing. I like the responsibility. I like the pressure. I thrive in that."

Rambo, as he's known by his teammates, definitely proved that last season when he busted onto the scene last season with a breakout junior campaign. Joyner finished the year with 93 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Needless to say, Joyner was a big reason why the Mustang defense ranked third in the nation in takeaways in 2012. So what can SMU fans expect from him and his defense this season?

"Playing hard. I try not to get too caught up in the stats. They come with just doing your job and making plays. We just do our job and let the plays come to us," Joyner said. "We want to be better than last year and top-20 in every statistical category defensive wise and we're aiming for that conference championship."

And as an individual, Joyner says he is improving everyday and polishing his technique under the guidance of new linebackers coach Eric Daniels.

"Coach Daniels is a really great guy. He's an effective teacher. He knows how to get his points across. He's like an older brother but stern enough like a father so he's a great," Joyner said. "To see him start from the bottom as a volunteer to where he is now is just a testament of hard work and determination."

The entire Mustang defense will need those two qualities if they want to replicate last year's performance. After all SMU lost its entire defensive line and key players such as Margus Hunt, Taylor Reed and Ja'Gared Davis.

But Joyner remains optimistic about what this unit can accomplish.

"It's just doing the little things. We have the talent and the potential but potential is nothing if you don't put the action with it," he said. "That's what we're striving on, doing the little things, making sure we're gap sound. We have just as much talent as we've had here. We just have to prove it."

Q&A With Freshman WR JaBryce Taylor

PS: Tell us about your fall camp experience so far.

JT: It's been great to be out here working hard and being part of a team again. I'm really excited about the upcoming year.

PS: Before fall camp, you had one heck of an All-Star game. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

JT: It was great to be out there competing with some other top players. But the big thing was going out there and representing for Lufkin and what were all about. My performance was all about what a great job our coaches are doing there and how they helped me.

PS: You know the other wide receiver from Lufkin playing in this city is a pretty big deal. Is Dez Bryant someone you look up to?

JT: Yes, he's from my hometown obviously and is one of the guys that made it. But I'm trying to create my own path and do what I need to do to reach my goals. Dez isn't the only guy from Lufkin that's made it to the NFL. There have been other guys that have made that don't get a lot of the attention so I just hope I'm the next one.

PS: Getting back to SMU, how have you adjusted to college life?

JT: It's been great. I'm really enjoying the independence and being a way from home. It's a lot busier and more fast paced than high school, but that was a given.

PS: A lot of receiver struggle to pick up this offense initially. Do you feel like you have a pretty good grasp of it so far?

JT: Yes. At first, it was a little bit difficult. But I've been studying my playbook non-stop and have been out here working hard. I also have the older guys to help me out. If I don't understand something, I can always go to one of the older guys. Keenan Holman is one hell of a teammate and Jeremy Johnson and Der'rikk Thompson are also guys I can go to.

PS: You're just a freshman, but it's a wide-open competition. Do you think you can compete for that starting job on the outside?

JT: Definitely. Keenan Holman is in front of me right now, but I'm here to compete. My mother always told me it doesn't matter if a senior is in front of you or a sophomore or a junior. Just go out there and compete, and that's what I'm doing. You never know what can happen with injuries or whatever, and you have to be ready.

Practice Notes:

- Stephen Nelson was one of the most consistent receivers at practice today. He dropped just one ball and had a nice Jordy Nelson-esque back shoulder catch over freshman defensive back Trey Washington.

-Daius Joseph looked much better today and was one of Gilbert's favorite targets in 7-on-7.

- Jeremiah Gaines once again looked like a monster and made some nice grabs on backside posts. He did drop a few balls. But he looks poised to make an immediate impact this season.

- Traylon Shead also showed off his ability to be a threat in the passing game. He made numerous over the shoulder catches and sped by scout team defensive backs.

- Cedric Lancaster may be a deep threat in the near future. Lancaster showed off tremendous speed and nice hands throughout practice.

- Garrett Gilbert threw some pretty passes when it came to deep routes, but he wasn't as accurate as he could have been on short and intermediate routes.

- Kolney Cassel had an up and down day. He threw some good deep balls but also overthrew his target so bad that the ball sailed out of the practice field and onto the street.

- During 7-on-7, Jabryce Taylor made a great diving grab that received praise from Hal Mumme.

- During 7-on-7, Kenneth Acker had an amazing diving interception. The ball was thrown by Gilbert.

- Darrion Richardson made the play of the day for the defense during 7-on-7 when he forced Arrius Holleman to fumble and recovered it.

- Derrick Odum got after Chris Parks for his technique during position drills and told him to play tighter.

- J.R. Richardson is coming off a torn ACL but looked very quick and fast.

- Myles Crosby made a couple of nice plays in position drills but needs to improve his flexibility.

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