This Dawg offense will bite

When the Bulldogs arrive on campus this afternoon, they'll bring with them top-level talent at both tailback and wide receiver. Tide Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush has been poring over their game film, and he's been impressed with what he's seen. <br><br>"Georgia probably has the explosive ability to run or pass that we may not have seen yet at this stage of the season," was Torbush's assessment.

The Bulldog's record stands at a perfect 4-0, and that includes two tough wins. "They've played two quality opponents in Clemson and South Carolina, so they've been in the wars," Torbush explained. "Coming to Tuscaloosa to play in front of our fans won't catch them by surprise. This will be a great challenge for our football team and especially for our defense."

Georgia's top tailback Musa Smith runs away from a would-be tackler.

Depending on the poll you trust, Georgia is rated as high as sixth in the nation. But because their offensive numbers have been somewhat off from a year ago, some pundits are questioning that ranking.

However, Torbush definitely doesn't agree. "It's too early in the season for any stats," he stated flatly. "I don't think you ought to have any stats or have any national rankings until about the seventh or eighth game--until things settle down and you can see who everybody has played. But that said, right now Georgia probably has not been as productive stat wise as they were last year."

With a veteran offensive line and big-time tailback, Georgia is only averaging 112.0 rushing yards per game. And even their passing numbers (221.8 ypg) are nothing to brag about. Taken together the Bulldogs only rank 89th nationally in terms of total offense.

Torbush acknowledges the low production, but he's not buying the conclusion. "I think they've got all the tools they need," he said. "They just haven't hit on all cylinders. They've dropped a few passes. They've thrown a few over the top.

"But we can't anticipate that happening this week. We've got to make sure that we perform."

Torbush points to the brewing quarterback controversy between last year's starter David Greene and phenom D.J. Shockley. "They were splitting time between Greene and Shockley. I recruited Shockley, so I know how good he is. He brings a totally different package to the table with his athleticism as well as his throwing. I'm not sure that David (Greene) didn't put a lot of pressure on himself because of that to produce a lot quicker than he should have. Greene is only a sophomore."

As a former head coach, Torbush understands how too many quarterbacks can sometimes prevent an offense from running smoothly. But an injury to Shockley has put that problem on hold, and Greene will be the man for Georgia this Saturday.

Fred Gibson is averaging 15.2 yards per catch.

"With Greene you're talking about a quarterback that throws the ball extremely well," Torbush explained. "He's got a pro arm. He's got size. He understands the game. And he's throwing to an outstanding group of wide receivers."

Last season Greene was the Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in the SEC. And his corps of wide receivers may be the best that Alabama will face.

"Fred Gibson, Terrence Edwards and Damien Gary---all three of those guys are big-play guys," Torbush said. "Matching up with those three with our defensive backs will be our biggest challenge. They remind me a lot of Oklahoma's receivers, except as a package they may be a bit better."

Jon Stinchcomb is the top Bulldog lineman.

Oklahoma's passing game burned the Tide for two touchdowns directly and one a few plays later. But the Bulldog wideouts are multi-dimensional. Torbush explained, "All three are punt returners and kick returners. Normally, when you've got those type athletes it tells you that not only can they catch the ball, they can do something with it after they catch it."

It will frankly be a challenge for Alabama to both cover Georgia's wide receivers and also work effectively against the run. "Matching up with their receivers and still being able to play enough man coverage will be tough," Torbush said. "That's so we can get enough guys in the box, because they've got a big-time running back in Musa Smith."

Plagued by injuries before this season, Smith is healthy and dangerous. The Bulldog has carried the ball 70 times this year for an average of 5.1 yards per run. The next most carries on the Georgia stat sheet totals only nine.

A possession receiver with the ability to go deep, Terrence Edwards has been making clutch catches for Georgia for a long time.

"Smith is a big, strong, physical guy that reminds me a little bit of (Arkansas' Cedric) Cobbs," Torbush related. "Cobbs may be a tad faster, but I think Smith is stronger."

Alabama fans like to brag that their offensive line is the best in the conference, and they have strong evidence in their favor. But with five senior starters up front--including one All-America and one All-SEC candidate--the Bulldogs can legitimately argue that point.

Strong tackle Jon Stinchcomb has NFL talent, and guard Kevin Breedlove is among the conference's best. "They've got an offensive line with five seniors," Torbush said. "I know several of them personally (from recruiting). They're athletic; they're big; they're strong."

When things are running smoothly, Georgia has the ability to pound the ball with Smith and then beat you deep with their big-play wideouts. "We're dealing with a very good football team that is playing with a tremendous amount of confidence," Torbush said.

"This will be our biggest challenge to date."


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