Price Looking for Improvement From Ends

Terry Price discusses Auburn's defensive ends group as the Tigers prepare for a road test at Arkansas.

Auburn, Ala.--Defensive ends coach Terry Price has been busy this season trying to make sure his group is ready to produce on a weekly basis.

The Auburn assistant has had to do a lot of teaching to make sure that happens with true freshman Antoine Carter becoming a key player and sophomore Sen'Derrick Marks making the adjustment of moving to the position from tackle.

With All-SEC senior Quentin Groves sidelined last week with an injury to his toes, Carter saw his most extensive action in Auburn's 35-7 victory over Vanderbilt.

"He did okay," Price says of the freshman from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who was in on three tackles including 1 1/2 sacks. "He started off playing hard and playing well, but he kind of ran out of gas towards the end.

"It was the first time he had gotten that many reps," Price points out. "He just has to learn to finish better. I know he is not used to playing that many reps, but when your number is called to play that many you have got to be able to stretch it out for four quarters."

Antoine Carter has been in on 10 tackles, including four for lost yardage.

With Groves injured, the Tigers counted on Antonio Coleman to step up and Price notes the sophomore gave a solid performance vs. the Commodores. Coleman was in on three tackles, including two for losses.

"He did some good things," Price says. "He played hard in the first time he got a chance to start. It wasn't a perfect effort by any means, but he did some good things out there."

Marks, who was in on two tackles last week, has earned praise from defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as well as Tommy Tuberville for how he has handled the new position. Price has nothing but good things to say about the hard-working Marks. "Sen'Derrick is doing well, he really is playing well and playing physical--exactly what we are asking him to do."

Price says he hopes to get Groves back for this week's game at Arkansas, but isn't sure when the team's most experienced defensive end will return. "As soon as the doctors clear him to go, we are going to put him to work," the coach says. "He enjoys the game and wants to be out there. As a senior, he doesn't want to miss any games. I know he is working as hard as he can to get back."

Auburn's defensive ends will be challenged Saturday night by the Arkansas running attack that features the nation's top running back duo in potential first round NFL picks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Nobody in the SEC runs the ball as well as the Razorbacks, who are averaging 338.4 rushing yards per game.

"The key is to control the blockers up front," Price says when asked what the Tigers need to do vs. Arkansas in the game that will be televised by ESPN. "We have to be physical up front. They have a great offensive line and they have one of the best offensive lines in the league every year. We have to attack the blockers and get off the blocks to make plays. If they get a hat on a hat and you can't get off a block, you are one man short to go tackle those running backs."

Auburn leads the series 9-6-1, but the Razorbacks won last year's matchup 27-10.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories