Boulware on playing at Auburn: Noise doesn't know if it's ACC or SEC


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Boulware is confident the defense can return to elite status
Boulware is confident the defense can return to elite status

CLEMSON – Clemson opens the 2016 football season on the plains at Auburn, and Jordan-Hare Stadium will be loud and raucous. But linebacker Ben Boulware isn’t intimidated by Auburn or any other opposing stadium, because he’s heard it all before and is smart enough to realize that noise doesn’t become louder just because it’s an SEC stadium.

The senior leader of the Clemson defense talked to the media under a tent outside of Jervey Meadows on Wednesday, and he held court on a variety of topics. Boulware covered everything from the freshmen to the noise at Auburn to defensive depth.

Boulware was asked about what is expected to be an electric atmosphere at Auburn, and he said the noise shouldn’t be a problem if a player has played in Death Valley.

“Not really. Our stadium is pretty big too and we have a loud stadium. I know it's a home game, but noise is noise, it doesn't matter if it comes from Clemson or Auburn, it's all distractions and you have to learn how to block that out,” he said. “A lot of our guys learn how to do that playing here. You have to be mature enough to block it out and do your assignment. So regardless if it's ACC or SEC I don't think the noise knows that. It's still loud, so we don't care if it's ACC or SEC. If you shut them down, they aren't going to say anything at all. We want to make that stadium as quiet as possible. If they're loud then that means that we probably aren't doing our job.”

Boulware also knows the SEC Tigers won’t possess the same kind of offensive weapons he sees every day in practice.

“I love getting to play against our offense – Deshaun (Watson), Wayne (Gallman), (Jordan) Leggett, Jay (Guillermo). I know every week no one is going to be as good as them,” Boulware said. “We have one of the best offenses in the country - all eleven guys. Practice is what's going to be hard. Come game time, it's going to be easy for us because we've been stressing our bodies the rest of the week.”

Clemson will send out several new starters on defense against Auburn, but Boulware believes that the perfectionist personality of defensive coordinator Brent Venables will push the defense to keep its elite status.

“As a competitor, you want to grow every day. It's never going to be perfect. You always want to strive for perfection, but you're never really going to achieve it, but you can always work for that and play to that standard we set last year,” he said. “For him (Venables), a lot of guys on our defense want to strive to play perfect and win every snap. If we don't do that, then we're pissed at ourselves, we're pissed at the defense and we're pissed at the leaders for not demanding that. I think that's where he steps in and says, ‘Alright, we want to win and they don't get a yard each and every snap.’ If they do that, then we'll get our tail chewed.”

On Tre Lamar

“All of our guys have made progress every day. I think his maturity, his knowledge of the game, his technique - just really everything has grown each and every day. He's definitely pushing for some playing time.”

On if he has confidence in this defense

“Absolutely. The same confidence that I had last year. When we got doubted and we lost 8 guys to the NFL, I knew we had a lot of depth and we were able to reload and we were Top Ten again last year. I get asked that question all of the time and I have the same mentality - we lost guys to the NFL last year, but we have talent to reload. We have mature guys and guys that are willing to go to work every day, so there is no doubt in my mind that we won't be a Top Ten defense again this year.”

Freshmen who have impressed

“Trayvon (Mullen)and Tre (Lamar) have definitely made strides. Dexter (Lawrence), too. The list could go on and on. A lot of our freshman and a lot of our young guys have been making plays. They've had a lot of growth in all phases of the game, but they still have a lot of work to do.

“Trayvon is just consistent and has a knack for the ball. He's not scared of anybody. He kind of has that corner mentality that he wants to press coverage, he wants to be man on man every single snap. He loves that competition and I think that just lets him strive for greatness and just work every day. He's really consistent. He kind of knows the concept of our defense already.”

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