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Quentin Groves talks Auburn, NFL

by Brooks Webb, Senior Writer, AuburnEagle.com

Q54 Quentin Groves has always been a fan favorite in Auburn. Whether it was his four sacks to tie the single season Auburn record against Kentucky his freshman season, his relentless play through injuries, or his record-tying 23rd career sack in 2007, everyone was a fan of “Q.”

Now, Groves has taken his talent to the NFL, where he just wrapped up his second season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After starting in seven games for the Jags in 2009 where he racked up 30 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble, Groves was traded to the Oakland Raiders earlier this summer.

While moving to Oakland was definitely a change of scenery, Groves will find himself surrounded by familiar faces. Quarterback Jason Campbell was sent to the Raiders in an April trade, and defensive back Walter McFadden was drafted by the Raiders in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Groves had a chance to talk with AuburnEagle.com, and let us know all about his experience in the NFL, his love for Auburn, and his plans to become a fan favorite with the Raider Nation.

What did you feel like your biggest challenges were going from Auburn to the NFL?

The biggest thing was probably getting acclimated to the life. There’s just so many distractions; money, people asking you for stuff, things like that. It definitely took some time to get used to.”

The Jaguars had you play a lot of linebacker. Do you prefer playing defensive end or linebacker?

“I like linebacker better. At linebacker, you’re free to roam and make plays. You can control the defense better there than you can on the defensive line.”

Did you feel like you were adequately prepared for the NFL?

“I was. The SEC gets your prepared for anything that you could ever imagine in football. Every week, you’re going against the best, just like in the NFL. I still go against a lot of those now.”

You had several different defensive coordinators at Auburn. Where did Coach Chizik rank?

“He was probably number one. I had one of my better years under Coach Chizik. Muschamp was really good too.”

You got your first taste of the NFL with Jacksonville, and now you’re with Oakland. How has that transition been?

“I mean, the Oakland coaches have been great. It’s the Raider Nation, and they’ve welcomed me with open arms. It’s gone very smooth so far surprisingly, so I’d say it’s been really good. It’s not as hard as most said. The trade was a shock, but it was easy. The coaches want me here, and that definitely made it smoother for me.”

Can the Raiders get back to where they once were?

“I think we can. With the pieces we have added, we’re in a position to turn it around as long as we keep getting better day in and day out, which we have been so far.”

You’ve made a fast impact on the Raider fans through Twitter. Tell me a little about that.

“I’ve always been a fan guy. I appreciate them, and when they appreciate me, I want to give back to what they’ve done for me.

How many autographed pictures have you sent out? (For those who didn’t know, Groves sent out autographed pictures for those who followed him on Twitter)

“I’ve sent close to 300, and I have a lot more up my sleeve for the fans, but I can’t say what right now.”

Groves also tweeted about a movie he was going to in the Oakland area, and asked who wanted to go with him. When he arrived, there were 40 Raider fans.

“The thing was, I pre-ordered the tickets, and I put it on Twitter about when to get there and all that, and I got there and there were forty people. I had to get some more tickets. We watched a great movie and I had a lot of fun with everyone.”

Have you come across a lot of Auburn fans since you left the Plains?

“In Jacksonville, there were a lot of them. I’ve been surprised with Oakland, there’s actually been a lot of Auburn fans in Oakland. It’s pretty amazing.”

What do you miss most about Auburn?

“The Saturdays and just playing with my teammates. I’ve got to look at the schedule, but I’m going to try and make it back to a game this year. I don’t make it back as often as I want to.”

How important do you think it is that Auburn football alumni stay in touch with the current players?

“Really important. The young guys look up to us, and we were in those same shoes not long ago on that same field. It’s a great boost for the team, a morale boost. Guys don’t realize how much their legacy meant, and just talking to them makes a difference.”

What former players do you keep in touch with the most?

“I’d have to say Stanley McClover. He’s been rehabbing his knee and he’s getting a lot better.”

How do you feel about the direction of the Auburn program?

“They started out strong. I know they lost some close games, and had some games they should have won like Alabama and Georgia. They have the potential to a pretty good team this year.”

 

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