PEABODY, Mass. -- Like most football players in the dog days of summer, Chelmsford's Tim Joy is ready to go.
In nearly 100-degree heat Saturday afternoon at the Northeast 7v7 tournament at Bishop Fenwick High, the Boston College-bound incoming senior linebacker controlled the defense, and played an integral role in the Lions' second championship at the tournament in three years.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Joy is coming off a stellar junior season, in which he earned a spot on ESPNBoston's inaugural MIAA All-State Team after racking up 131 tackles (13 for loss) two sacks and three interceptions while calling shots at middle linebacker. It's unclear whether he'll play inside our outside at the next level, but earlier in the day he told ESPNBoston's Roger Brown, "I'll play wherever I can to get on the field and help the team."
Following the championship victory over Oliver Ames, Joy spoke to ESPNBoston.com about the upcoming season, and how he's been preparing.
Q: Let's go back a month when you committed to BC. It was pretty soon after they offered you.
A: "Coach [Sean] Devine offered at camp. I pulled my hamstring earlier in the day, so I was pretty disappointed, didn't think anything was going to happen to be honest, because I didn't really get to show them what I have. But then coach Devine talked to me after, told me everything was going to be OK, and then later that night once I got home, I got a phone call and he told me the news. It was awesome."
Q: Describe your emotions when you got the call.
A: "I mean, all my life I've been dreaming about being an Eagle. When he called me, I mean, it was satisfaction, my dream came true. But satisfaction's failure. Once I found out, that night I was pretty happy, but the day after I was back to work. That's in the future, but this season's right now."
Q: Who were the BC players you followed growing up?
A: "Mike McLaughlin, [Mark] Herzlich, Matt Ryan, all the big guys then. Mike McLaughlin, I've been with him a lot lately. We work out down at Athletic Evolution together, and I see him all the time. He's been my hero since I was a little kid. Being with him is awesome."
Q: You obviously had a tremendous season last year, so maybe to nitpick here, but looking back at last season, what weaknesses did you see in yourself that you've applied this offseason?
A: "Looking back, one of the big things is leadership. I was a captain last year, but this year I've really taken over that role. Another thing, part of being a leader is just keeping everyone up all the time. Even when times are hard, that's when the tough get staying in there, and the other teams quit. But our team won't quit when that happens."
Q: How do you develop leadership? It's obviously not an exact science.
A: "Yeah, I mean, you just need to work hard. I believe you lead by example before you can tell people what they have to do. So since I've been in eighth grade, every morning, every night I've been working out, running something, and I think I've gained the respect of all my teammates.
"Also, what I've been working on this offseason is my size. I took lacrosse off this year just to put some weight on. It paid off, I've probably put on 20 pounds since last year, so it's awesome. I'm at 215. Last year, I was like 195 playing weight. And then, I've gotten faster this year."
Q: How much do you study as a middle linebacker?
A: "A lot. When I was younger, like freshman and sophomore year, I just played. I went out there, just natural instincts are what got me through it. That's another thing I've been working on, just why we do things when we do them, you know? A lot of players see, say, cover two in this situation, but I've been meeting with the coaches a lot trying to find out why we do it, so I'm almost like a coach on the field. That's the point I'm trying to get to."
Q: What's the best high school game you've played so far?
A: "Definitely the Billerica game last year. It was awesome. That's our Thanksgiving game, big rivalry, and Nick LaSpada [Billerica quarterback]...great QB, awesome rivalry. But when we're out there on the field, it's a war out there. Winning that was just awesome."
Q: Is he the best player you've faced in the MVC so far?
A: "Brian Miller [Andover tight end and BC freshman] is up there, and a few years ago Zach Littrell from Central Catholic, went to Harvard, he was probably the hardest hitter I've ever faced. But Nick, there's something about him. He's pretty fast, pretty strong, but really just trying to tackle that kid is almost impossible."
Q: You seem like a kid that gets pretty fired up pregame. How do you prepare mentally?
A: "Well, before games, I don't really talk too much. I stay to myself, usually I go into my own little zone, go off by myself, tape my cleats up, put the arm bands on, tape the wrist up and everything. First thing we do is position meetings, and I'm quiet during the whole thing. But then when the coaches leave the room and tell me to just talk to the players, that's when I let everything out that I feel. Then when I'm out there on the field, you need to keep everyone up at all times, you know? Give everyone confidence, because confidence kills, and that's what we're going for."
Q: There's no easy week off in the MVC. What's the most important thing you guys are going to have to take care of to survive this year?
A: "Really, it's week by week. If it's a few weeks before Thanksgiving, you can't look ahead and say, 'I can't wait until Billerica'. Every game is a new season, you know? Every week, every practice, every play in practice, it's a new start. You can't take what happened last week with you. It's just like, every season, you're 0-0 every week, and it's that game, the only game that matters."