Bigger Role Coming For 17-Year-Old Tiger

True freshman defensive end Antoine Carter will be a bigger part of Auburn's defense with senior Quentin Groves sidelined.

Auburn, Ala.--Through five games of the 2007 season, true freshman defensive end Antoine Carter has seven tackles and one sack. Following an injury to senior Quentin Groves that will keep him out of the lineup for an extended period of time, the chances are good that Carter's numbers will rise dramatically in the coming weeks.

"He'll get a lot of snaps," Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp says of Carter. "He got 16 Saturday night, but he'll play quite a bit...the biggest thing for any freshman is adjusting to the speed of the game. He'll be fine. He's played well when he's been in there. He's going to obviously be asked to do more now that he'll be playing more and more regular down snaps and playing the runs and things. He's been mostly a situational player to this point."

Standing on the sidelines Saturday night in The Swamp, the still 17-year old Carter who will turn 18 on Dec. 21st watched as Groves went down trying to tackle Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Dislocating three toes, Groves left the field and watched the remainder of the game on crutches after a visit to the Auburn locker room. When it happened Carter says he knew right away his role was about to change for this Tiger team.

"When I saw him go down I thought ‘here is my chance, I have to step up and show what I can do'," Carter says. "At the same time he always showed me what to do. Now I have to get out there and do what I know."

One of Auburn's top pass rushers since arriving on the Auburn campus over the summer, Carter has worked hard to become a more physical player. That has meant a lot of time spent not only in the weight room but at the training table. Carter says the work and food has paid off for him.

"I weigh 243 now," Carter says. "I came in at 225. It hasn't slowed me down or anything. I guess I'm so used to working every day that you don't notice until you get on the scale and look."

Carter returned to his home state Saturday night and played a part in Auburn's win over the Florida Gators. Experiencing life on the road for the first time, Carter says the win was something he'll always remember and especially with the game coming down to a final kick for the win.

"It was fun," Carter says. "The environment was really loud. It was a difficult environment to play in. It was good though seeing a couple of players I know from high school. I knew Wes (Wes Byrum) had it in him. He just had to concentrate. I knew he was going to hit it. It felt good."

Carter and the Tigers now turn their attention to the Vanderbilt Commodores as they look to extend their winning streak to three games. For Carter it's a chance to show that he can be an every down player for Auburn while Groves tries to get back on the field.

"It's my time to step up and show what I can do," Carter says. "There's not really any pressure. It's my time to work on getting better. As long as you know your plays and your alignment and assignment you're all right. You just have to get out there and play.

"It's time to step up," Carter adds. "The Florida game is over with. We're working towards Vanderbilt now."

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