Showing no emotions, Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware walked into Monday’s media gathering in Clemson’s WestZone carrying a half-eaten taco and a “it’s just a football game” type of attitude.
Being asked questions concerning the second-ranked Tigers’ season opener against Auburn this Saturday, the 6-foot, 235-pound linebacker’s thematic response throughout the interview was focused around simplifying the game of football down to it’s roots.
“If you narrow it down and simplify it the way I do, it doesn’t matter. It’s just football,” the senior said. “A lot of guys on our defense and our team come to terms with that and grasp that it is just football and you block it out. No matter where you are playing at or who you are playing, football is the same. It is the same X’s and O’s regardless of who your opponent is.”
By understanding the game for what it truly is Boulware has been able to take the mental aspect out of it and focus more on what his job is as a football player.
“I try to simplify it as much as possible so it’s not a mental game and so I am able to play fast. They are going to try run the ball and pass the ball and I am going to try and defend it,” he said.
Boulware mentioned his “it’s just football” mindset has been the main change he has seen from the Tigers since their 2014 season opener against Georgia. The linebacker said he felt a lot of the guys were focused on that one particular game, whereas now they look at the season opener to Auburn as just a football game.
He even mentioned freshman linebacker Trey Lamar has caught on to this type of mindset.
“He is mature enough to know that the lights and cameras aren’t going to matter between the lines. It’s just football,” Boulware said.