Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/11/11
In 2005, Bill Parcells told a rookie named DeMarcus Ware, "You're going to amount to nothing."The Cowboys coach probably didn't believe that, he was just attempting to motivate a player that the organization spent the 11th overall draft pick on. Ware recently joined SI.com's Peter King for a podcast interview to discuss growing up in Alabama, his early days in the NFL and the possibility of breaking Michael Strahan's single-season sack record. Ware has certainly come a long way from the days when Parcells played mind games with him. The former head coach had small ways of testing the outside linebacker, like having the 6-4, 260-pounder fetch him Gatorade during practice, and not just any Gatorade. No, Parcells wanted the orange flavor and nothing else, sometimes even scolding Ware for bringing a cup of the grape-flavored beverage."Every single day he would stay on you, even if you did something well, he wouldn't even acknowledge it," Ware said during the podcast, "he would just walk away." However, Ware vividly remembers the first sign of approval. During the 2005 season, Ware recorded his first sack in a Week 3 win over San Francisco. Following the play, Parcells made eye contact, nodded, and as Ware said, "that's all it took."Many sacks have come since then, 91 to be exact, and Ware gives a lot of credit to Parcells, the man that showed the young defender how to correctly study opponents and stressed the importance of having a different game plan each week.Before the Auburn, Alabama native seriously began hunting quarterbacks, he hit the local woods to hunt small game."I'd go back to Loachapoka and Dadeville and go back there and hunt small rodents, rabbits and squirrels and a little bit of deer here and there," Ware said. "Whatever you can find."He added: "When I got here to Texas I really found out what hunting was about. I see like these big 14-, 15-point bucks that are 180 pounds, these big wild boar, 450 pounds. I went hunting with Leonard Davis probably about four months ago and he had some on his ranch. It's just ridiculous how big the animals are down here." Despite being in the backyard of Auburn University, Troy was the only school to offer Ware a scholarship, an opportunity he mostly saw as a chance to get four free years of education. "I really wasn't thinking much about football, but just making sure I was good enough to stay on the team," Ware said, "to keep the education going."But that changed during his senior year, suddenly his name was being mentioned with the country's best defensive players, players like Georgia's David Pollard and LSU's Marcus Spears."All of a sudden you're getting invited to the Senior Bowl and then the NFL combine and then you're thinking, 'Hey, if they're going to invite me with these guys they must think that I can play with these guys,'" Ware said. And not only could he play with them, but he was better than them. Six years later and he might just be the best defensive player in the game, a recognition that would be difficult to argue if he sets a new single-season sack record. "Individually, you always think about the sack record, you think about those things, but you sort of got to take it one day at a time, then at the end you assess the situation," Ware said. But at the same time, he tries not to think about it, instead focusing on being consistent and making life difficult for quarterbacks, any way possible."I think how many times can I get to the quarterback just to get pressure, and if it's a sack, it's a sack, and if it's pressure, it's pressure," Ware said. "But if you can get to them more times than anybody else than everything else will fall into place."Ware enters Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills with 12 sacks, which means he will need 11 more over the next eight games in order to break the record that Strahan set in 2001. Ware's single-season best was 20 in 2008, the sixth-highest total in NFL history.--Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota
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