Jan. 22, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. -
By John Denton
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In one aspect, Torell Troup is the embodiment of a rugged, nasty defensive lineman. At 6-foot-3 and 314 pounds, he's as big around as a tree stump and by being able to bench press 225 pounds 36 times and squat 670 pounds, he is almost freakishly strong.
But on the other hand, Troup is often so reserved, respectful and quiet that some have trouble envisioning him ever being mean and vicious enough to mix it up on the inside with some of the NFL's most fearsome defensive line. Troup was so quiet and mild-mannered that he sat back for three seasons as his name was misspelled in media guides and game programs and never said a word until his mom insisted that he say something.
Troup, a standout defensive tackle at UCF the past four years, has spent the past week of practice for Saturday's East-West Shrine Game trying to prove he can be tough enough when needed.
``Some guys out here take my kindness for weakness, so I've had to prove that I deserve to play on the inside,'' Troup said. ``You have to have a nasty streak to play on the inside and I have that, but I only show it on the football field.''
Troup is expected to start at defensive tackle on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl when his East squad takes on the West in the 85th annual game.
Troup has had what he describes as ``a great week,'' while practicing in front of dozens of NFL scouts. That sort of pressure would be enough to cause some college players to crack, but not Troup, who got used to just that throughout this season at UCF.
``Honestly, I just treated it like another practice and I've blocked them out of my mind,'' he said. ``There were scouts out there at UCF all the time, and this time there are just a lot more of them. I just block it out and act like they aren't there.''
Those scouts are certainly taking notice of Troup, whose draft stock seems to be rising each day. He has already been invited to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine, which will be held Feb. 24 through March 2 in Indianapolis.
Troup was the anchor this past season on a UCF defense that ranked fourth in the nation against the run and led Conference USA in almost every crucial category. Despite often drawing double teams, Troup still had 35 tackles, five stops for a loss, two sacks, four pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.
But his most impressive number might ultimately turn out to be 40. That's how many repetitions Troup hopes to do with his bench press test of 225 pounds at the combine. He is among the strongest defensive linemen in the country, and plans to prove it with a career-best lift with all the scouts, coaches and executives looking on at the combine in a couple of weeks.
'`If he can get 40 times that's really good strength,'' said Romeo Crennel, head coach of the East All-Stars. ``Thirty-six is already pretty good, but if he can get 40 that's amazing. People around the NFL will take notice of him if he can get to 40.''
Promised Troup: ``I'm not settling for anything less than 40 times at the combine. Be looking out for 40 or more from me.''
Crennel said when he's worked with Troup this week he's tried to teach him some tricks to help him utilize his strength more. Crennell likes Troup's mobility and the way he can push linemen around with his strength, but he wants him to work more on delivering a blow.
``That's what you have to do in the pros because if you go in there with your shoulders they are just going to grab you and hold you,'' Crennel said. ``Even though (holding) is against the rules, you have to use your hands to get separation so he can get off his man and make the tackle.''
``That (bowl) loss really stuck with me for a while because I really wanted to win a bowl game going out of my senior year,'' Troup said. ``We weren't able to pull it off, but hopefully those guys can pull it off and get us one next year. I'll be cheering for them and want to see my teammates do well. I think they'll be really good.''
John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at email@example.com.