Ben Boulware is ready to hit someone else


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Boulware is ready for the start of his senior season
Boulware is ready for the start of his senior season

CLEMSON – Ben Boulware is ready to hit somebody.

Clemson’s senior linebacker showed up for Monday’s interview session in the WestZone, and he was in his usual game week mood, which means he’s already dialed in on that week’s opponent and ready to get the festivities started.

Clemson opens the season at 9 p.m. Saturday at Auburn, and he was asked if he was ready to see an opponent who also isn’t a teammate. His answer was pure Ben Boulware.

“Absolutely. I've been eager to play and eager to hit someone else,” he said. “We've been grinding all off-season and during camp. I'm just ready to play a game.”

Boulware and the Clemson defense will see an opponent that is similar to the one they see every day in practice.

“Yes. They are really similar to our offense, which helps us out because we go against the best every day with Deshaun, Wayne, our skills guys on the outside and our O-line. It's an easy transition for us. They will throw in some wrinkles, but it's pretty similar,” Boulware said. “They named Sean White the starter and he's had a lot of plays where he has been mobile on his feet. I think he has surprised a lot of people. Whoever they play - with Sean starting or if they bring in Franklin - they are all going to be athletic and have a good arm, so we're going to be prepared for anything.

“He's just a confident player and confident in their system. He can make a lot of throws. He's not as athletic as the other two guys, but he can make just as many plays with his arm. I think the reason he won the job is because he's more knowledgeable and more confident in their system than the other guys and he's made more consistent plays.”

Auburn could also call on last year’s starter in Jeremy Johnson or transfer John Franklin, III, but Boulware says it doesn’t matter who plays.

“Doesn’t help us or hurt us - they're going to be a quarterback at the end of the day,” he said. They are going to manage their offense, so it doesn't affect me or our defense. They are athletic guys. They are just as good running backs as they are quarterbacks. They are really mobile on their feet and a lot of plays on their offense are designed for quarterback runs. They like to run the ball, as simple as that. Whether it's doing jet motions with the receivers, regular running game with the running backs or quarterback running game, they like to incorporate the running game in their offense."

Boulware also said he isn’t worried about Auburn’s environment.

“We obviously have matured because we've been through the fire and experienced a lot of things. Playing in this environment is definitely different than opening up with Wofford and Appalachian State like we did last year, but if you narrow it down and simplify it like I do, it doesn't matter,” he said. “It's just football. I think a lot of guys on our team and on our defense have thought about it that way. That's it - just football. You block it out no matter where you're playing at or who you're playing, football is the same. It's the same x's and o's no matter who your opponent is. I think a lot of our guys are doing that and I think that is the main change, it's just the opener.”

This will be Boulware’s last season opener at Clemson, and he says he wants to make the most out of his senior season.

It starts at Auburn.

“It's my last opener, my last season here. I’m just going to make the most of it. Sort of like the same thing with my sophomore year when I got a start against Louisville,” he said. “It was my first opportunity to start in a game, so I was going to make the most of that opportunity. It's the same thing for my senior year. It's my last opportunity to play at Clemson, so I'm going to make the most out of it. The strides I have made have been more mental than anything. I'm not out there freaking out, not knowing what's going on, like I was my freshman year, so it's that and being more comfortable in our system and Coach V's defense. The game is no where near as fast as it was my freshman year.”

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