Tiger Defensive End Looking to Sack The Home Folks

One of Auburn's most surprising defensive standouts talks about his season to date and this weekend's game with Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.-–Not many third-teamers are in the Top 10 in football statistics in the SEC right now, but not only is Auburn's Quentin Groves in the Top 10, he's leading the league in total sacks with six and a half after his four-sack performance against Kentucky last weekend.

Playing behind starter Doug Langenfeld and backup Stanley McClover at weakside defensive end, Groves normally is in the game 10-15 plays each week. That hasn't kept the Mississippi native from being very productive though and he says part of the reason for that is because of the time he spends on the bench.

"The hard work has really paid off," Groves says. "Just coming in and being a backup, playing behind Doug, Staney, Bret Eddins and those types of guys, you can learn a lot from the sidelines watching them play.

"You also notice certain tendencies that tackles have," Groves adds. "You see if they're susceptible to an inside move or can you speed rush them because their feet are not as fast. If you're on the sidelines watching Doug and Stanley go and with me coming in I already know what move I had to do already in order to get a sack. It just helps a lot."

Groves and Stanley McClover celebrate a sack against Kentucky.

Auburn's defensive job is a tough one this week for the guys up front as they go up against one of the league's top offensive lines. Having allowed just eight sacks this year, the front five of Bobby Harris (6-4, 310, Jr.), Doug Buckles (6-5, 305, Sr.), Chris Spencer (6-4, 310, Jr.), Marcus Johnson (6-6, 320, Sr.) and Tre Stallings (6-4, 317, Jr.) could deal the Tigers fits this Saturday night. Groves says they are definitely a physical unit.

"I noticed they have designed the offensive line around running and not passing," Groves says. "They're bigger guys at 6-3 and 6-4 that like to come off the ball and just pound you. I have noticed that rather than the teams we have already played with 6-8 or 6-9 tackles that pass block."

Making the job even tougher will be a rotation at the quarterback position between Ethan Flatt, Michael Spurlock and Robert Lane. All three do different things and bring something to the table in some area of the game. Groves says that the Tigers need to make sure they are paying attention each and every play to who is in the game.

"You have to go in and just game plan," Groves says. "It's more mental once you get out there. You have to scan the field to see which quarterback is in the game and set they are in. Then you have to know which play you have. All that is in about 25 seconds. It just makes it more difficult. You've got quarterbacks that can run, Spurlock can run and throw, and Flatt can sit back there and throw it. It's just a lot to prepare for."

Auburn has had practice at this already this season after playing both LSU and Tennessee, teams that use more than one quarterback. Groves says that the Tennessee game in particular should be helpful to the Tigers this Saturday because of the differences in Brent Schaeffer and Erik Ainge.

"It lets us know that going against duel threat quarterbacks like Ainge and Schaeffer, we already know what to do," Groves says. "With Schaeffer you had to contain him and with Ainge you had to get to him. You have to contain Spurlock, you have to contain Lane, but you have to get to Ethan Flatt so he won't have time to throw the ball."

Returning to his home state for the second time this season, Groves says he hopes to make it a clean sweep in the Magnolia State after Saturday night's game with Ole Miss. Friends with several current and former Rebels, Groves says that winning and wrapping up the SEC West in Oxford would be very sweet after last season's tough loss in Auburn.

"It's always a joy to go back home and see the old home folks and play against them," Groves says. "There will be a couple of players I played against in high school. I know a couple of them. Marcus Cohen, an offensive tackle, Trumaine McBride is a cornerback. Those are about it. I knew Jessie Mitchell and Charlie Anderson, but they both graduated last year.

"It would make it a little sweeter," Groves adds. "Ole Miss came in here and beat us last year. It would make it sweeter for that revenge."


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