Next on the agenda is the Kentucky Wildcats, an opponent that should get the defensive end's attention because he had his most productive game of the 2004 season vs. Coach Rich Brooks' team. Groves came off the bench to make six tackles, which is good. He forced two fumbles, which is very good, and he made it a great day by finishing with four sacks.
Groves and his Auburn team will play the rematch at noon CST on Saturday in Commonwealth Stadium. UK has just one SEC victory, a 13-7 decision last week vs. visiting Mississippi State, but the Auburn sophomore says his team is taking the Wildcats seriously despite the record.
"You can't overlook Kentucky," he says. "They have a tall athletic quarterback and good receivers. You can't overlook anybody in the SEC or you will get beat."
Groves says what he did last year vs. Kentucky in Auburn's 42-10 won't help him on Saturday. "I can't look at it like I had four sacks last year and I am going to do it again this year. I have to go out and prepare the same way I prepare every week."
Groves forces a fumble vs. Kentucky in Auburn's 42-10 victory last season.
The defensive end notes that it has been a point of emphasis in practice for the defensive front to get more pressure on quarterbacks. "It is extremely important to us because it is going to come into play," he says. "We can't blitz all of the time on third down. The defensive ends and defensive tackles need to get after the quarterback when it is time to get after the quarterback because that is our job. We have got better and better week by week and we need to keep doing that."
Last season, Groves and fellow defensive end Stanley McClover were usually in an attack the quarterback mode when they came into games as backups in obvious passing situations. This year, in the three games Groves has started and five others he played in as a reserve, a big part of his assignment has been to guard against the run.
"It is kind of difficult," he says. "We are still getting used to playing the run first and then rushing the passer. Last year I used to come in on third down rushing the quarterback. It is kind of difficult, but we are adjusting to it."
The sophomore from Weston High in Greenville, Miss., says he enjoyed his team's sweep of the homestate schools. The Tigers blanked Mississippi State 28-0 Sept. 10th and just missed another shutout vs. Ole Miss last week, winning 27-3.
"Since I have been here I am 5-1 against the Mississippi schools," he notes. "That is great. I have got bragging rights for another year when I go home for Thanksgiving. I have bragging rights when I met up with Omarr (Mississippi State QB Omarr Conner), Spurlock (Ole Miss QB Michael Spurlock) and all of those other boys."