Groves Expects Challenging Evening Vs. Carolina

Auburn sophomore Quentin Groves says he is expecting to be a busy football player on Saturday as the Tigers return to SEC play.

Auburn, Ala.--While the status of South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell is still uncertain, Quentin Groves and the rest of the Auburn defense are preparing for two quarterbacks with different styles of play.

Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier says that Mitchell, a drop-back passer, is doubtful with a sprained ankle. If he is unable to play this week against Auburn, redshirt freshman Antonio Heffner, a more mobile QB, would get the start. If Heffner gets the nod under center, Groves says that it would put a lot more pressure on the defensive ends.

"I've really looked at the quarterback give and quarterback read plays," Groves says. "No. 18 (Heffner) loves to keep it a lot. No. 12 (Mitchell) loves to give it but sometimes he'll keep it. He has deceptive speed from what I've seen. He tricks the ends so much."

"We're practicing for both," he adds. "We're practicing bootlegs, sprintouts and quarterback keepers to get used to things of that nature from Heffner."

No matter who is playing quarterback for the Gamecocks Saturday night, Groves says that a passing attack like Spurrier's is something that every pass-rushing end looks forward to facing.

"Spurrier finds a weakness in every player on your defense and he really exploits it if you give him a chance," he says. "Everybody has known Spurrier to pass, pass, pass, which he has done with South Carolina. I think I've seen 94 run plays and 213 pass plays.

"I love to rush the passer," Groves adds. "I haven't been able to do it the last couple of weeks because I haven't been able to finish. I can get there and then I can't finish it. There's nothing in the world like when it's third and 15 and your DBs and linebackers are counting on you to get a sack. Then you get a sack and 87,000 go crazy. There's nothing like it in the world."

Quentin Groves

If Heffner is in the game the Gamecocks will likely run more of a shotgun run-oriented offense, which would put a lot of pressure on Groves and his fellow ends Marquies Gunn, Stanley McClover and Christopher Browder.

"You're used to playing fast that your body type is built for speed, speed, speed," Groves says. "Coach tells you to slow it down and you don't know how. You kind of have to think, "Okay I'm 280, so how would I play if I was 280," instead of being 245-250. You want to run to the ball, but if they pull it, they fake you out and you're screwed."

Making things tougher for the Auburn ends will be a pair of big, physical and experienced tackles in seniors Jabari Levey and Na'Shan Goddard.

"They really have two great tackles," Groves says. "They're really good, they're really tall, they weigh like 320 and 305, their arms are extremely long and they've got great feet from what I've seen on film. I really look forward to going against them."

Groves is tied for second on the team with two sacks with Gunn and Wayne Dickens, while Browder has collected three sacks through four games. Even though Groves hasn't been able to finish the job on the QB, he says it really doesn't matter as long as the end result is positive for his team.

"Against Western Kentucky I beat the tackle and Marquies cleaned him up (for a sack)," Groves says. "I beat another tackle and Travis (linebacker Travis Williams) got an interception. I beat another tackle and Zach Gilbert got an interception. It really doesn't matter to me who gets the credit as long as we get the ball back."

Kickoff for Saturday's game between 3-1 Auburn and 2-2 South Carolina is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

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