Auburn Coach Looking For Pressure Players

Terry Price is looking for the Auburn defensive ends to play a major role in the SEC Football Championship Game.

Auburn, Ala.--When the Tigers take on Tennessee for the title of SEC Football Champion on Saturday, Auburn assistant coach Terry Price believes his defensive ends will have a big say in who is the winner.

Tennessee will be counting on a big offensive performance from Rick Clausen, the redshirt junior quarterback who has taken over the starting job after freshmen Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer were injured. Clausen, a junior left-hander who originally began his collegiate career at LSU, has won praise from Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer for his play the past three games since taking over for Ainge.

"I think getting pressure on Clausen is going to be critical on Saturday," Price says. "The quarterback is throwing the ball well. I think he has thrown for 300 yards or close to it in the games he has started. They are playing well on offense with him at quarterback. They have scored quite a few points. There has been no dropoff in the points scored with him at quarterback.

"I think it is always critical for our guys up front to get pressure, to get him rattled and to get him moving his feet around. You have to keep him off balance. You can't let him sit back there and have all day long to throw the football."

Auburn won the regular season meeting 34-10 in Knoxville. The Vols, who are 9-2, suffered just one other loss. They were upset 17-13 at home by Notre Dame.

Price says he believes his ends have made positive strides since the first matchup with Tennessee.

"I think they have improved," Price says. "Tennessee was probably one of the worst games that we played as a defensive end unit. We went back and watched this year's Tennessee game film and you can see a lot of areas where we have gotten better. We still need to improve, but I didn't think we played well at all against them the first time. They know we have to get better to beat these guys."

Price, an original member of Tommy Tuberville's Ole Miss coaching staff, has been at Auburn since the 1999 season. He says that winning the league title would be special for the players, the coaches and the university as a whole.

"They are looking forward it," Price says of his defensive end group that includes seniors Bret Eddins and Doug Langenfeld along with sophomores Marquis Gunn and Stanley McClover plus redshirt freshman Quentin Groves.

"It has been 15 years since Auburn has won an SEC Championship in football," Price says. "We want to get out there and get it done. We were there in 2000, but there is no prize for getting there. We want to get there and win it. That is what our plans are to do. Our guys have worked hard and want to win."

"We have improved as a group, especially the younger guys," says Eddins, a fifth-year senior. "We are excited about having the chance to play for a championship."

Senior Bret Eddins has battled through injuries to be a key member of the Auburn defense.

Seeing the Tigers win Saturday's game would mean a lot Eddins, his teammates and the defensive ends coach. "There is no doubt about it," Price says. "The program we took over at Ole Miss was struggling with one of the worst probation situations you have ever seen. It was the last program to ever get a TV ban.

"We went through some struggles at Ole Miss, but we got it back on the map and won a bowl game and obviously got here and built up this program. We are playing with our guys now and it is just great to see the program built up to where it is now. We hope to get to the point where we will have a chance to compete for the SEC Championship every single year."

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