For the Auburn defense, there would be no better time for McClover to have a breakout game than this Saturday night in Baton Rouge, where the Tigers will face an LSU team with a strong-arm quarterback and lots of talented receivers.
"Getting pressure on their quarterback (Jamarcus Russell) is one of the most important things going into this game because LSU has great receivers," says McClover, who has been credited with just half a sack this season.
"If you give their quarterback a little bit of time, he can pick you apart," McClover adds. "We have got to keep pressure on him the whole night. It is not an option. Once we accomplish that, we should be all right."
Auburn, which is 3-0 in the SEC, will control its own destiny in the SEC West race if the Tigers can defeat LSU. The Bayou Bengals are favored by a touchdown. Ranked seventh nationally, Coach Les Miles' team is 3-1 in the conference and 4-1 overall while Auburn is 5-1 overall.
"This is by far our biggest challenge of the year," says McClover, who adds, "This is probably the most balanced offense we will play."
Last season, McClover and his Tigers edged LSU 10-9 in Auburn. The Bayou Bengals came into that game unbeaten and as the defending national champs. McClover says that victory was a confidence-booster for his team, which finished the 2004 campaign unbeaten.
"Beating LSU was so big for us," he notes. "That was just a great feeling."
McClover says that his ankle is much better. He didn't start, but saw significant playing time in Auburn's 34-17 victory at Arkansas last Saturday. He contributed to the cause by helping force a Karibi Dede interception when he chased Arkansas QB Robert Johnson in the end zone. Johnson hurried his pass that was deflected by cornerback Montae Pitts and caught by Dede.
"That was like my first full game back," McClover says. "Coach Price (defensive ends coach Terry Price) wanted to see where I was at and I feel like I did pretty good. I hope that was a building stone to keep going for the rest of the year."
"I am up for the challenge," he adds. "I am ready to get out there and play Auburn ball and give it all I have got."