Torbush scouts the Arkansas offense

Ranked tops in the SEC in terms of total offense, Arkansas will present a formidable challenge to the Alabama defense. <br><br>"Right now they're hitting on all cylinders offensively," said Tide defensive coordinator Carl Torbush. "They feel like they can move it running or throwing. We've got great respect for them.

Averaging 262 yards rushing per game, Arkansas is effective running the football. "They like a tight end with two backs, which is the biggest part of their offense," Torbush related. "But they have the ability to go to four wides. If they get in a passing situation they'll run four receivers. But they'll still run some option at you.

"They won't let you get after the quarterback without knowing that you'd better defend the option."

Razorback tailback Cedric Cobbs in action against Alabama last season. (Getty Images)

Like Alabama, the Razorbacks use the option to keep opposing defenses honest. Torbush explained, "They're not a big, big option team, but when they do run the option they run it well. They use it as a changeup, to try and keep you off balance. They know when to run it. They run it two or three different ways."

An extremely fast straight-ahead runner, Razorback QB Matt Jones makes it work. "Once Jones gets outside the tackle box, he's got outstanding speed, which is one of the things that makes the option go," Torbush said. "You don't see his speed inside tackle to tackle, but once he gets outside on the edge he can run. On film there have been some defensive ends and linebackers that were in a position to get him down, but he just outran them to the corner. He's such a tall kid that sometimes you don't appreciate how fast he is. If we let him get outside the tackle box then we're in a bind, because I'm not sure how many guys we've got that can catch him."

Jones is actually Arkansas' second-leading rusher. "He makes a lot of his yards on the option," Torbush related. "They'll run it about three times a game, but three times ten equals 30 yards. A lot of his other yards come from scrambling out of the pocket and outrunning people.

"For a quarterback to average eight yards a carry, when he's got sack yardage figured in as well, that's very impressive."

The Razorbacks are also throwing for 184 yards each contest. "Jones does not get enough credit for his passing ability," Torbush said. "He's got a strong arm and throws well in or out of the pocket. He doesn't take many sacks. He's got the physical strength and quickness to run outside. And he's strong enough that if you don't hit him well, then he doesn't go down."

Now that Ahmaad Galloway is lost to the Tide for the year, Arkansas may well have the deepest running backs corps in the conference. "They're not one-dimensional by any means," Torbush said. "They've got a stable of running backs. We saw all of them last year, and all of them are back. Cedric Cobbs speaks for himself, but all those guys are good football players."

Quarterback Matt Jones is an underrated passer.

Fred Talley, Brandon Holmes and D'Arrius Howard are all talented runners. But Torbush describes Cobbs as "the complete package." "He's got speed, strength, quickness and good balance," Torbush said. "He's had a career that has probably been tough for him, but when he's hitting on all cylinders he shows you why they think he's a great football player. He's one of the better tailbacks in the SEC."

Up front blocking for Cobbs, the Razorbacks are solid on the offensive line. But tackle Shawn Andrews is a unique talent. "Our players after the game last year were really bragging on him about how good they thought he was," Torbush related. "He's got all the tools to be a really fine football player. Our guys are going to have to meet the challenge, because Arkansas has got a solid offensive line."

Illustrating the Razorback's commitment to running the football, they start a behemoth at tight end. "Jason Peters is a really big guy, about 6-5 and 315 pounds," Torbush said. "He's a good blocker and he can catch the ball when they want him to."

Richard Smith and George Wilson are the starters on a talented receiving unit. Torbush commented. "Their wide receiving crew overall is going to be very similar to Oklahoma's. They can run. They can catch. They're athletic guys."

Torbush of course is a veteran coach, capable of "poor mouthing" with the best of them. But he's genuinely impressed with Arkansas' talent. "We're going to have to do a great job of tackling," Torbush said. "This is the third week in a row that we've faced a team that's averaging more than 250 yards rushing."

But during those past three games, Southern Miss gained 35 yards on the ground, North Texas 50 and the vaunted Sooners of Oklahoma minus 23.

"Hopefully Arkansas has not seen anybody as fast as we are," Torbush said.

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