Torbush impressed by Sooner offense

Having watched Oklahoma on film, Tide Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush knows the Sooners have talent on offense. But beyond that, he's impressed with their character as a team. <br><br>"They understand how to win football games," he explained. "They don't get in a panic, regardless of the score.

"As a football team they've been in big ball games. They understand patience."

Oklahoma comes into tomorrow's game rated second in the nation, while the Tide is unranked. "We've got our hands full," Torbush acknowledged. "I feel like our players are excited about the opportunity and the challenge. This will be a great chance to see how we're going to respond against a top-notch team in a tough, hostile environment."

Oklahoma's Antwone Savage (#6) goes up for the football versus Nebraska.

A veteran of more than 30 years in coaching, Torbush loves the idea of a Tide/Sooner match-up. "Their tradition speaks for itself, and without question, Alabama's tradition speaks for itself," he explained. "You've got two of the top two or three tradition-rich schools in the history of college football. Seven national championships and Alabama's 12, that's a lot of national championships.

"If you enjoy college football history, then I don't think it could be more exciting than to see these two get together in a regular-season game."

Known in recent years for their excellent passing game, last week versus Tulsa the Sooners rushed for 378 yards. "They made a decision to run the football," Torbush said. "Last year they did throw it a lot and threw it well. That was a big part of their success over the last two years. But I don't think there is any doubt that they've made a conscious effort since last football season to be able to run the ball more.

"Watching the first game, their offensive line looks like they've grown. They're more physical. Their running game was impressive. They went into the Tulsa game feeling like they needed to run and wanted to run. I think they'll feel the same way against us."

Oklahoma uses a lot of one-back sets, with senior tailback Quentin Griffin the star. Versus Tulsa Griffin ran for 327 yards on only 17 carries. "Their running back (Griffin), it seems like he's been around forever," Torbush joked. "I thought he graduated three years ago.

"Two years ago he had a bunch of touchdowns against Texas. He's just a tough guy. He's not as big as a lot of guys, but he's got good speed and great quickness. If you don't get your hands on him, he'll come out of a tackle in a heartbeat. And he's very, very tough."

Without question Oklahoma has improved running the football, but the Sooners will challenge any defense with their passing attack. Torbush explained, "They've got an outstanding throwing game, and they've also got good running backs. They've got a good scheme. Their running game will in a lot of ways be very similar to what we just saw (versus MTSU). They use similar formations and plays.

Sooner tailback Quentin Griffin (#22) carries the football versus Arkansas in last year's Cotton Bowl.

"But Oklahoma will and can throw the ball down the field more. They have excellent speed at the wide receiver positions. (Senior Antwone Savage) is a big-play type guy."

Defensively versus MTSU, the Tide started off well. But Torbush was hardly satisfied with the overall effort. "We'll have to play a lot better than we did last week," he said. "For basically a quarter and a half, we were like a well-oiled machine. Offensively, defensively and special teams. Then all of a sudden penalties, substitution errors, some big plays in the kicking game turned it around."

"I'm still convinced that second quarter took a lot out of us," Torbush continued. "When you play 30 snaps out of 34 (during the second quarter), there is no question it'll affect you. Somebody said we were out of shape. I said that was the furthest thing from it. If we were not in shape, we would probably have had a couple of heart attacks out there. Anytime you play that many snaps in a row, it's going to take something out of your legs. I didn't think our tackling was as crisp in the second half as it was earlier.

"For the first several possessions we played very well. But it's a four-quarter ball game."

As well as MTSU played, there is no question that Oklahoma presents a bigger challenge. "(Our players) have seen themselves on film," Torbush said. "The young guys have some experience now. I expect a great deal of improvement from last week to this."


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