Football Senior Says "Auburn Is In Your Heart"

Auburn, Ala.--Reggie Torbor has seen just about everything there is to see as a college football player since he's been at Auburn.

He's been a part of teams that won when they weren't supposed to win, teams that lost when they weren't supposed to, and everything in between. One of the most respected members of Auburn's 2003 team, Torbor says that everything he's contributed to the AU program through the past five years was threatened when Coach Tommy Tuberville was almost removed from his position following the Alabama game.

A fierce competitor on the field and emotional player, Torbor plays with a passion few others can match. Many times that's needed to succeed because of his lack of size at defensive end when matched up with 300-pound offensive tackles on the opposite side of the ball. Not only is that passion evident on the field, it's also apparent off the field when he talks about his university and his coach, Tommy Tuberville, things that are very close to his heart and soul.

"It's kind of hard hearing a lot of it and a lot of it is just ridiculous," Torbor says of the rumors that Tuberville's job was in jeopardy. "You just wonder, ‘What are they talking about?' Getting back to your daily routine and away from all the rumors and the mess is good--getting back to the people who care about you."

AU president Dr. William Walker, AU athletic director David Housel and board of trustees members Earlon McWhorter and Byron Franklin met clandestinely with a possible replacement for Tuberville two days before Auburn's victory over Alabama. Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino took his name out of consideration for the AU job and Walker has since said that Tuberville is Auburn's coach with the full support of the university's administration.

Reggie Torbor

"It's a relief that it's over," Torbor says. "A lot of the things that went on. I don't know what went on, but it all falls back on us. I don't think people realize how much that we have to deal with because of decisions that other people make. No one thinks about us. You go home and someone says, ‘I heard you don't have a coach.' When I first heard about it, I heard it from second-hand, I didn't know anything. It's kind of hard to deal with and being a senior you don't want your last days like that. We're glad it's over and we can get back to basics, I guess."

While it's over in that Tuberville is remaining as head coach, this is a subject that will keep getting attention from Auburn fans who are questioning the leadership ability and ethics of the university president and the athletic director. One of the most irritating aspects of the episode to Torbor and his teammates is that the meeting with AU officials and Petrino took place two days before the biggest game of the season--Auburn's Iron Bowl victory over Alabama.

"It was upsetting," Torbor says. "I usually don't do this and talk about it, but I think it's bad when you just judge a program by wins and losses. Today's world is like ‘what have you done for me lately?'I've got three rings. I've been to the SEC Championship. All that is under Coach Tuberville. I have a degree. At the end of this month we'll have eight guys that played this year with college degrees. The stadium is packed, you can't get a ticket.

"I was talking to Dexter (Dexter Murphy) and we were talking about how we took on the top five in the BCS almost with USC, LSU and Georgia. Don't get my wrong, I'm not making excuses for losing, but we didn't lose to a 2-10 team. It's like all those things are just forgotten about. Look at Oklahoma. They were the greatest thing since sliced bread and they lose one game and now they don't deserve to play for the national championship? Sometimes you just sit back and wonder why people say what they say sometimes. Coach Tuberville is a great guy. His door is always open...that's just the kind of person he is.

"People hear one thing from one person and all of the sudden they repeat it and the next thing you know it's national news. They've probably never even met Coach Tuberville. They don't know the first thing about him. Everyone is a coach. We should have done this or we should have done that. All of the sudden they win and they are a genius. It's the same person you were talking about last week."

Reggie Torbor is shown in action during his senior season.

Something that Tuberville has always been a big proponent of during his coaching career is including his veteran players in the decision process on many decisions regarding their senior seasons. That was evident this season as he gave the senior class a lot of influence in team meetings and in the decision-making processes. Torbor says that endears the team to the coach and makes them respect him more as a man and as a coach.

"I don't think people realize how much control he gave our seniors over this team this year," Torbor says. "We made a lot of decisions. He knows they are going to fall back on him. No one is going to point at Reggie Torbor and say, ‘It's your fault we lost.' it goes back to him and he takes that like a man. He stands up and accepts it for us. He goes from the preseason coach of the year and this and that, and in a matter of months you want him gone. I just don't understand that. Like I said, I like Coach Tuberville and I couldn't tell you two bad things about him."

Even with the disappointment of the last two weeks fresh on his mind, Torbor says that he'll look back on his time at Auburn with fondness because of the friendships he's made and the things he's accomplished since coming to the Plains from Baton Rouge, La. Nothing that has happened or ever will happen will be enough to change Torbor's mind because in his heart he'll always be in Auburn.

"To me Auburn is not in Auburn, Alabama," Torbor says. "Auburn is the people who care about Auburn, the people who love Auburn. Wherever they are, that's Auburn, Auburn is in your heart. You play for it.

Torbor is one of the top defensive ends in the SEC.

"There are so many people that don't know that football doesn't happen on Saturday nights and that's it until the next Saturday. Our lives go into this. We make friends and cry together and things like that. I don't love Auburn any less because the people who are talking about Auburn aren't Auburn. You can't be Auburn one day and not be Auburn the next. We like to call ourselves Auburn men. The good times we're together and the bad times we're together. You can't pick and choose when to care about something. You either do or you don't, and that's just how I look at it."

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