Coach Tommy Tuberville says he could tell the Tigers were enjoying the lighter than normal week of practice by the extra bounce in their step. One of the Tigers who was moving well was senior Reggie Torbor, who a year ago at this time was limping as he was trying to get ready for the Southern Cal Trojans.
"This is a real big game nationally," Torbor says. "There are going to be a lot of people out there looking in who want to see what happens." The game will be televised from coast to coast with the kickoff coming shortly after 5 p.m. CDT at soldout Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Torbor says he is feeling good and is excited about the rematch with the Trojans, who scored a late touchdown in Los Angeles last season to pull out a victory over the Tigers.
"Our first goal is to win the West and the SEC and this game really has nothing to do with that," Torbor says. "If we win great. We are going to do all we can to win the game. I am pretty sure it will hurt losing, but we will be back the next week win or lose, we will get ready for Georgia Tech."
Reggie Torbor works out on Thursday at the football complex.
Torbor says playing such a talented team in the opener is exciting to him and his teammates. "As our program gets better, we have to take on bigger challenges. We did those things. We played those I-AA schools in the past my freshman year and my sophomore year. As our talent gets better you never know how good you can be until you start playing better people. We have probably one of the toughest schedules in the nation. If we win out against these teams, I don't think there is any question we will have the best team in the nation."
One of the keys to Saturday's season opener will be putting pressure on Matt Leinart, Southern Cal's new starting quarterback. Last year, Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer caused Auburn problems. The Tigers will be working hard to do better with their pass rush than in last year's matchup.
"We will try to give him different looks and try to confuse him," Torbor says. "In this case it is going to be different because they have got a wall of muscle protecting him. It is not going to be easy to get back there. They have some great offensive linemen. If we can get back there to rattle him, it will be great for us. We are going to need to play great defense nothing matter what and see what happens.
"Our experience is in our front seven," Torbor notes." We are going to try to stop the run and get them into situations where we know they are going to pass and then we can blitz them." In addition to him being personally healthy, Torbor says as a group the Tigers are in good shape. "Right now we are probably healthier than we have ever been. We are in a defense that we know. We are comfortable with what we are doing. We are not second-guessing ourselves out there. We know what to do. It just makes it easier when you don't have to think out there."
"It feels good to be full speed," Torbor adds. "I had a couple of hamstring injuries earlier this summer and in two-a-days, but that is all worked out. I am feeling good now. I would like to stay like that all season. I weigh 251 or 252, which is right where I want to be. That is as big as I need to be without losing speed."
Permanent metal (right) and temporary plastic (left) traffic barricades line Donahue Drive, just north of Jordan-Hare Stadium. Parking is expected to be a major problem for Saturday's game and throughout the season with fewer campus parking spaces available.
Practice Notes: Visitors to the workout included the CBS broadcast crew of Verne Lundquist, Todd Blackledge and Jill Arrington...The Tigers will take buses Friday evening and get away from the excitement on campus, spending the evening and much of the day on Saturday in LaGrange, Ga...The Tigers spent a good bit of Thursday's practice polishing the kicking game...Stanley McClover was at practice on Thursday, but was still not dressed out. Tommy Tuberville that Auburn is still awaiting word on his eligibility status...Tuberville says he believes his team is ready to play a game, but won't really know for sure until the Tigers get into the contest on Saturday evening. The coach says he has told his team that a key to victory will be keeping its cool and composure when things don't their way during the action. "A lot of it depends on how the players react."