They call him “Boomakat,” a nickname Boston College senior safety Marcellus Bowman earned for his hard-hitting reputation, which began in high school and stuck through college. Bowman enters this week’s game against North Carolina second on the team in unassisted tackles (36) and total tackles (50). He has also forced a fumble, recorded a sack and broken up two passes. Bowman is one of those refreshingly honest players, who is smart and headed for a bright future, regardless of whether or not football is a part of it. For now, though, he’s concentrating on North Carolina and clinging to hopes of finishing his career with an ACC title. Here are the highlights of our recent interview:
Where has the success come from for you guys?
MB: Just believing in the fact that we’re a good team despite all the things that happened to us in the offseason, and all of the things the media doesn’t know that happened. It was nothing more than just growing pains. It forced everybody to grow up a little bit faster as far as the younger players on the team. The older dudes became more vocal and more responsible in the locker room and on the football field. Just the fact we understood what we had to do.
What’s the mentality like now that you guys are still in the running for the Atlantic Division title, but you’re not necessarily in control of it?
MB: Basically taking care of everything we can control. Like you said, it’s basically in Clemson’s hands, if everything goes according to plan on our side. But if things don’t go according to plan on our side, it doesn’t matter what Clemson does. We’re just doing everything we can on our side, taking care of our business. That’s our motivation, taking care of what we can control.
Even if you guys don’t wind up in Tampa, considering all of the obstacles you had to overcome, would you still consider this season a success?
MB: That’s kind of a hard question, because we wanted to really prove the doubters wrong. But in all honesty it would definitely be a success. A winning season is always good, especially for Spaz (coach Frank Spaziani). Yeah, it would be a success because like you said, with everything going on, nobody expected this. They expected a lot worse.
Speaking of Spaz, what do you think about the job that he’s done? Is he the ACC’s Coach of the Year?
MB: I think so. I would like to see who the coach is who would win it outside of Spaz. He’s done a great job, as well as the rest of the staff. From him all the way down to our strength and conditioning coach, they all had a big part in what we were able to achieve this year. So yeah, he should be. I don’t see why anybody else should get it. Not to be biased, but that’s just what I think.
What do you think about North Carolina? When I think of this game, I think of defenses for both sides, but what kinds of challenges do they present offensively?
MB: Offensively it’s their scheme. Their scheme is one that if you’re not on your Ps and Qs you’ll be exposed. They have a great offensive coordinator with an NFL mind and you can clearly see it when you watch their tape, that their routes they run and the way their line protects, and the way they have their quarterback moving and throwing the ball is on a different kind of a level than the rest of the ACC and the rest of the opponents we’ve played. Just seeing that, we know what we have to do. We have to outperform against their offense and also outperform their defense to help our offense out. They’re at the top of ACC and we have to really play our A game.
How pleased have you been with your own performance this season?
MB: I’m fairly pleased. I always set goals and try to keep them realistic, but they’re always higher than what I’ve achieved right now. Overall I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve played and I hope people in the NFL would take notice. I know I still have three, hopefully four more games left to play, and I’m not in a rush for that to end, but I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve played so far.
How badly do you want to play at the next level?
MB: Oh, I really want to play at the next level. To play in the NFL, it’s a blessing and for everybody in there it’s a dream come true. I definitely want to be one of the people living that dream. Hopefully I will be.