Senior Defensive End Has Reasons To Be Excited

Reggie Torbor talks about where the defense stands heading into game week and Dexter Murphy's move to offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior defensive end Reggie Torbor has seen many players come and go on the Plains as he heads into his fifth season as an Auburn football player--many at the position he plays very well.

The always hard-working and soft-spoken Torbor isn't hesitant to say this year's freshman class of defensive ends has a chance to be something special before they leave, but they still have a lot of learning to do to be ready this season.

"All of them are probably the most athletic group I've seen," Torbor says. "They can all run like deer. I think when they first got here they didn't realize that when you get tired no one is going to feel sorry for you and take you out. That's the biggest problem they have right now. When they get tired they shut it down and start feeling sorry for themselves.

"In the past two or three practices I have noticed it getting better. You can see them pushing themselves and fighting fatigue. Doug Langenfeld, I think he's really going to help us this year. Stanley McClover, he may be one of the best out of the group, but he's on a side where he's not really needed right now with Bret (Bret Eddins) and Jay (Jay Ratliff). As long as they stay healthy over there he probably won't be needed as much. Those two really stand out to me though."

Reggie Torbor hits Penn State quarterback Zack Mills during last year's Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State.

Because of added depth up front with a solid three-deep at all four defensive line positions, this fall has been one of learning and repetition for the younger players while veterans like Torbor have focused on getting game ready both on the field and off. With eight returning starters on defense it would seem things would be simple to pick up, but Torbor says they had some key holes to fill first.

"The defense has come a long way," Torbor says. "When we first got out there I think everybody expected us to pick up where we left off last year. We just didn't have the chemistry there. Towards the end of last year we were playing some great defensive football. It took a couple of games to get us like that.

"'T' (Travaris Robinson) was a big part of that. We had a lot of holes to fill. It probably didn't look like it on paper, but as far as chemistry we've come a long way. Some young guys have gotten confidence and they are learning technique. We've still got a long ways to go so we just hope we can get back to where we left off when we get back to practice."

One of the problems in getting in a rhythm has been minor injuries to several key members of the defense. The biggest of those has been Dontarrious Thomas, who has missed almost 10 days with a strained hamstring. Expected to be back when the Tigers resume practicing on Thursday evening, Thomas will be welcomed with open arms by Torbor and his teammates.

"D.T. not being out there is really hurting us right now as far as his physical capabilities," Torbor says. "He's the leader and somebody that has been through it out there. Him missing causes a big void in our defense."

Another player missing from the defense is senior Dexter Murphy. Moved earlier in the week to offensive guard to help out with depth problems, Murphy has proven to be an inspiration for his teammates in the quest for a championship in 2003. His unselfishness and enthusiasm is something Torbor (his roommate) says is contagious.

"People look up to him," Torbor says of Murphy. "He just crossed over and people look up to him. They follow him and it's just kind of contagious. They're like ‘so this is how it's supposed to be.' When Dexter leaves somebody else will step up and be that person.

Reggie Torbor

"You can't ask for anybody to do anything more than Dexter has done. Last year he bounced around from end to tackle and never said a word, always had a smile on his face. That's just how he is. He's going to give you everything he has. I'm expecting him to do pretty good over there."

Doing better than pretty good in his first week on offense since he was in high school, Murphy has already caught the eye of offensive coordinator and line coach Hugh Nall. In fact, Nall says that he expected the senior to be a starter sometime during the season. Saying if he deserved it he would welcome the start, Murphy didn't get too excited about the idea. That wasn't the case with Torbor who was all smiles over the idea.

"It would probably make me happier than it would make him," Torbor says. "When you see somebody working so much you kind of expect them to be rewarded. This is his last year and we've got a lot of expectations. He's not going to tell you, but he's got a lot of expectations. To me, that would be his reward. If he did that, I would be so happy for him I don't know what I would do."

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