Groves: High Expectations for AU Defense

Auburn defensive standout Quentin Groves discusses a variety of subjects concerning the 2007 AU football team.

Hoover, Ala.--Quentin Groves, a returning All-SEC senior defensive end, says he has high expectations for the 2007 Auburn Tigers when it comes to his team's defense.

Groves, who is beginning his fifth fall on the Auburn team, says, "I think we can be even better. I have been around a lot of defenses, some of the great ones. In 2004, I believe our 2004 defense was number one in the country in scoring defense. We are faster than we were then."

One of Auburn's representatives at the annual SEC Football Media Days, Groves says consistency will be the key to success for the AU defense. "I am going to try to get it across to them that we have to be consistent," he says. "If we go out and get better today and get one sack, we want to go out and get two tomorrow...I am going to tell the guys to just follow my lead. I am not going to lead you wrong. If we just continue to get consistently better, great things are going to happen for this team."

After earning All-SEC honors as a junior, Groves seriously looked at leaving school for the National Football League Draft. He notes that he feels good about his decision to return for one more year of college ball.

"I never felt bad about it," Groves says of of his decision. "I made up my mind that if I was coming out, I was going to come out 100 percent. If I was staying, I was staying 100 percent.

"Me and wife, along with my mom, we sat down and talked about it, and my coach and I sat down and talked about it. They said ‘Q' don't go into this season thinking, ‘Man, I should have been going into the NFL, or man I should have been doing this or man I should have been doing that.' When you do that, that is when you start playing out of your game and you start not being as productive as you once were.

"If I have a great season or a bad season, I thank God that I had another season--another year to spend with some of my best teammates like Zach Gilbert, who I love dearly," Groves says. "He is one of my best friends. I take him anywhere with me. Jonathan Wilhite, he is one of the best corners even though guys talk down about him. He is going to probably be one of the best corners in the country. Patrick Lee is going to be one of the best corners. Tez Doolitte...I could go on and on about the guys I have grown accustomed to and I love to death."

Quentin Groves attracted a crowd of reporters at the Wynfrey Hotel.

Groves made his appearance at SEC Media Days along with his head coach, Tommy Tuberville, and senior quarterback Brandon Cox, who was not selected to the Coaches Preseason All-SEC first, second or third teams.

"He uses it as motivation more than anything," Groves says of Cox. "We talked about it on the plane. We were talking and he said he was going to shock a lot of people this year. I think he is."

Other points made by Groves as he talked to print, radio, television and internet media on Wednesday include:

*On Auburn's tough road schedule: "We have a hard road schedule, but we are not playing the fans. We are playing the 11 guys who are on the field."

*On new Alabama coach Nick Saban's comments that the Tide will work 365 days a year to try to dominate Auburn, a team that has whipped Bama five years in a row: "I have it (the quote) in our weight room, I have it over my locker and I have over my bed at home, I have it in the bathroom when I wake in the middle of the night."

*On having a chance to set Auburn's all-time sacks record: "It is not something I am focusing on. I am just focusing on getting better day by day in two-a-days and focusing on trying to beat Kansas State or compete against Kansas State when we played them Sept. 1st."

*On what he expects from sophomore linebacker Tray Blackmon, who is returning from a suspension after showing great promise last year. "Chette (team chaplain Chette Williams) had his FCA banquet (Tuesday) and Tray got up and spoke and testified to what God has done in his life. I think he has turned it around. Tray is a guy who is going to do great things for us this year. Now, I am taking him under my wing. I am trying to lead more by example than anything with Tray...Considering how much production he had last year in six games, "if he has a full season he is going to be scary."


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