Groves had three sacks in Auburn's victory over Florida in 2006 and forced two turnovers on sacks in a win at Alabama. He came back for his senior season to become a better all-round player, help improve his draft status and be a senior leader for the 2007 Tigers. He got off to a good start against Kansas State, sealing the victory with a sack and forced fumble on Josh Freeman that teammate Antonio Coleman returned for a touchdown. He had another outstanding game against South Florida in game two.
In the SEC opener against Mississippi State, however, Groves was a non-factor.
"After the first pass play I got pressure on the quarterback I knew that they weren't going to pass it forever and they weren't going to one-on-one block," he explains. "They started to do certain things to try to slow me down and get me out of the game plan, and it worked."
The Bulldogs' offensive game plan was geared toward limiting Groves.
Groves was barely touched on the first snap of the game, but Michael Henig got the ball away before Groves could make a play. Following that play, the Bulldogs ran to his side of the field or ran a draw on nearly every play the next few drives.
Bulldog tailbacks Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre ran for 103 yards and 63 yards, respectively. Most of the rushing yards were off right tackle. And quarterbacks Henig, Wesley Carroll and Josh Riddell were sacked just once.
Groves entered the contest with 25 career sacks, just one shy of Gerald Robinson's school record.
"I think I was overplaying," he explains. "This whole thing with the record and all that BS, not trying to make excuses, but I think it was getting to me a bit. I apologize to all of my teammates and everybody that was a part of it. I played out of my defense and couldn't make any plays."
The senior end also says that he was out of position on MSU's key third-down conversion runs on its game-winning touchdown drive. For the game, he was credited with one solo tackle, one assist and two quarterback hurries.
"I know we'll bounce back," Groves says of the loss. "It's something that happens during the season. I think we got a little too confident and that's my fault as a senior and as a leader of the team. As a leader I should have calmed the guys down. "