AUBURN, ALABAMA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
AUBURN — Quentin Groves feels old.
A fifth-year senior on Auburn’s defensive line, Groves will face his home-state school for the final time Saturday. He can think of only a couple Mississippi State players he knows.
“Everybody I came in with, most of them are in the NFL,” the 23-year-old Groves said.
He said Mississippi State tight end Eric Butler and defensive end Titus Brown are two players that he talks with.
A Greenville, Miss., native, Groves’ first college choice was Tennessee. “I was, ‘Go Vols,’ ” he said. “Mississippi State was my second choice.”
When Tennessee fell through, he nearly committed to the Bulldogs, but then decided his best chance of winning a championship would happen at his third choice: Auburn.
“I kind of looked at the records and I was like, I want to go to a program that was winning,” said Groves, who leads the Southeastern Conference in sacks (two) and tackles for loss (five). “I just wanted to win a championship because I never won one in high school. I had the best chance to get one in Auburn.”
During his redshirt freshman season in 2003, he got that championship when Auburn went 13-0 and beat, ironically, Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game.
Now, Groves is on the brink of tying Auburn’s career sack record. All he needs is one sack to equal Gerald Robinson’s record of 26. Robinson was the No. 1 selection for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1986 NFL draft.
Groves had 10 quarterback hurries last week.
Daily sports writer
TUSCALOOSA — Blame it on the media. According to Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, he would have no idea that wide receiver DJ Hall was 34 yards from breaking NFL Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome’s school career record if not for reporters.
“How close is he? Maybe he’ll do it this week,” Wilson joked. “We don’t talk about records and stats. ... We broke some records last year. If y’all hadn’t said it, I wouldn’t have known about it.”
Since arriving at Alabama in 2004, Hall has climbed steadily up the Alabama receiving charts to the point where he is on the cusp of history.
When asked about the possibility of breaking Newsome’s record, Hall said, “It would mean a lot because he was so good at what he did. For me to come in and break it, it shows how blessed I am. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity.”
? Alabama may have solved its issue at nose tackle, at least for this week. After Brian Motley went down with a broken ankle Aug. 29, speculation swirled around the position.
Motley was a converted offensive lineman, and Tide head coach Nick Saban said the defensive line had little depth.
But defensive tackle Lorenzo Washington has stepped in during Motley’s absence and provided a steadying influence at nose tackle. So far, Washington has six tackles and one sack.
“There is always room for improvement,” Washington said. I watched the tape (from Vanderbilt), I did some things pretty well. I just need to keep trying to get better every week, keep practicing the techniques that coaches teach me, use the game plan and take things from practice into the game.”
? Arkansas is one of five opponents that Alabama will face this season coming off an open date.
Logic would state that an open date is beneficial. Players can rest injuries, and coaches can take a breather. But coach Nick Saban doesn’t feel that it’s helpful all the time
“I guess it comes down to, if you’re in a good rhythm as a team, sometimes it’s better to keep playing,” Saban said.
The other teams that have bye-weeks before they play Alabama are Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn.
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