Sophomore defensive end Stanley McClover says that for him and his teammates that break couldn't have come at a more opportune time. "We needed that," McClover explains. "That was a much needed rest. We still studied, we watched all our film, we never really took it off, we just didn't go out on the field. We still did our thing as far as watching film and keeping our eye on Georgia because we need two weeks to prepare."
McClover, who is third in the SEC in sacks with 6.5, one behind co-leaders Quentin Groves and Georgia's David Pollack, says the Tigers' defense really needed the extra preparation time for the Bulldogs because of their offensive talent.
"Georgia has got a very good offfensive line and a very athletic O-line," McClover notes. "We know that they do a lot of play action so it is going to be on the defensive ends to apply some pressure on David Greene and try to make this a ball game."
McClover celebrates locking up the SEC Western Division title with junior linebacker Travis Williams in Auburn's last game at Ole Miss.
The speedy defensive end adds that he and his fellow ends will have to rely on what they have learned all season against a Georgia offense that has a strong play-action passing game. "We have always got to keep our eye that," he says about Green's ability to sell the run but keep the ball for the pass play. "We have just basically got to watch our keys and study our technique, and try to recognize the best way possible in the game is to just go with that."
The quick and athletic sophomore says that with a tough matchup against a talented team, it will be even more important for the young defensive ends to continue their goal of growing as players with each passing week. "We are just getting better every game," McClover says. "We have still got a long way to go, but every game, every snap, every week we need to get better. We are getting better and that just comes with a lot of hard work. We just try to better ourselves and mature fast."
Following the week to get their legs rested, and with a huge SEC contest on the slate for Saturday afternoon, McClover notes that there is a different feeling in the air at the athletic complex this week. "Big games like this are self-motivating," he says. "You are going to get up for it just by knowing who you are playing. We have just got to pick up the intensity every day. On Sunday we had a good day of practice so you know that the intensity level is going to be there. We have just got to go out there and execute."
Although the talented end says he is excited about the chance to play in a game with huge national implications, he adds that he is trying very hard to temper that excitement.
"It's big, it is big time," he says about this weekend's contest. "It feels good, but we just try to block that out a lot and look at your opponent just like every other team we were looking at this year, and play hard.
"We know Georgia is a very good team and they are going to give us some problems--some things are going to happen in that game and we are just going to try and play hard and come out victorious," McClover adds.