Tiger Defender Has Respect For Ole Miss QB

Reggie Torbor and his Auburn teammates are preparing for one of the nation's top quarterbacks as the Tigers travel to Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--Facing Eli Manning would offer a big enough challenge for Auburn's Reggie Torbor even if the defensive end was totally healthy and full speed for Saturday's SEC West showdown in Oxford.

Unfortunately for the the junior who went into the season as Auburn's only experienced player at his position, he hasn't been full speed for four quarters all season. However, Torbor has played through a series of health problems, the most serious being with an ankle that he injured on opening night in Los Angeles.

Reggie Torbor

"It looks like every week I get a little nick or a bruise," Torbor says. "The thing is, you know, I might get another injury, and I neglect the old one and it starts coming back, but it is just something that I have to deal with. I am about 85 percent right now. I just push through it the best I can."

Torbor says there will be time to rest and heal after the season. He will be ready to answer the bell on Saturday morning vs. Ole Miss. "If if gets better, I will appreciate it, but if not I have to do what I have to do," he says. "It's the home stretch and we have a chance to control our own destiny right now."

Torbor and the Tigers will travel to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium looking to corral Manning, the 6-4, 215-pound star of the Rebel offense. Torbor has watched the junior on video and is impressed.

"The thing with the Manning is rarely will you find someone on a team who really and truly can beat you by himself," Torbor says. "He is so smart. It is not that he is that more athletic. He is not going to run out of the pocket and beat you running, but he sees the play before it happens. And we just have to work hard because we're going to disguise and not let him pick us apart. Last year, we had him, I think it was 27-0. Then, he was just up and down the field. We just have to stop him from making plays."

Auburn won that game 27-21 in what was the SEC opener for both teams. The Tigers have won eight of the last 10 matchups vs. the Rebels and lead the overall series 19-9.

Last week, Manning completed a school record 42 passes so Torbor and his friends on the defensive front are going to put some mileage on their cleats this Saturday chasing the son of NFL Hall of Fame star Archie Manning. Fortunately for Torbor and his friends, Eli doesn't have the running ability of his dad, but he does have a knack for avoiding pressure.

"That is a lot of pass rushing," Torbor says with a grin. "The thing is, he gets rid of the ball quickly. In the three-step drop, you're not going to really get a sack. He's also smart. He will throw it in the bleachers to a fan before he will let you sack him."

On his last trip to the state of Mississippi to play football, Reggie Torbor earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors as the Tigers whipped Mississippi State.

Torbor says it is important to keep coming after the quarterback and not get discouraged. "It's just mental," the 6-3, 250-pound end notes. "You know, you get tired, you feel like you're not helping your team. He's just getting rid of the ball, getting rid of the ball. Then, boom, you're not ready for it, and there is his five-step drop and he stands back there all day and hits us with the deep ball. So, we just have to keep coming, and not let it get to our heads."

Auburn's pass rush was very effective last Saturday as the Tigers crushed LSU 31-7 to improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. Ole Miss is 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. LSU still leads the SEC West with a 3-1 league record.

"It was a real good win over LSU," Torbor tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "We knew we had the talent. We've had some guys banged up, but that's football. It's going to happen. We have to just have guys step up, and we did that. We had a lot of people back last week. I believe we had everybody except Spencer (Johnson). It was just a big confidence builder. We had been seeing spurts of it all year, here and there, and we just finally put it together."

Torbor says the Tigers have had time to get experience in playing the new defensive system installed this year by Gene Chizik and says that has made the defense better. "Of course, playing is going to help. No coaching is better than repetition--just doing it over and over. Everyone's comfortable and knows what they are supposed to do. There's no second-guessing ourselves. At USC, we had guys that looked like a Chinese fire drill. You know, we were just running everywhere. Guys weren't real sure. But I think we're sure now, and we're ready to play football."

Manning is the third high profile dropback passer on the Tigers' schedule along with Carson Palmer of Southern Cal and Rex Grossman of Florida. What is Torbor's take on the trio? "I'm not sure which one is the best," he says. "All of them are real good. They have the same qualities. They're real smart. That is the thing that sticks out to me the most. They don't get sacked a lot. Even if you beat the guy on the passer, he can feel it. They are just so confident--they are veterans. With Eli, I'm pretty sure his father's helped him so he knows things that some of them probably will never know. They are just three real good quarterbacks."


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