Torbush scouts the LSU offense

Adjusting to life after Rohan Davey and Josh Reed, the LSU offense has struggled at times this season. But Tide Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush has been impressed with the talent he's seen on film. <br><br>"There's no question they're one of the Top 15 teams in the country," Torbush said.

Davey and Reed together had a field day last season against the Tide, setting team and SEC records for passing and receiving yardage. This year's LSU team is very different on offense, relying on the run more than the pass. "LSU is a very talented football team as evidenced by their record," Torbush said. "They've done a great job of recruiting and evaluating, because they've lost two or three great players and they've replaced them with good players."

Looking at the Bengal Tiger depth chart, Torbush sees the most talent at wide receiver. "Overall as far as speed and athleticism, they're probably as good a group as the Georgia group," was his assessment. "Not only are they good receivers, but they block extremely well. They'll knock your head off, especially on crack-backs."

One of the top kickoff and punt return me in the nation, Domanick Davis (#31) has also been effective as LSU's starting tailback. (Associated Press)

With 35 catches for 482 yards, sophomore sensation Michael Clayton is the leading receiver. "I felt like Clayton was one of the best receivers in the league last year as a freshman," Torbush said. "He's got great size and is a hard match-up for any cornerback in the league, because of his height."

Technically second string, converted tailback Devery Henderson has been LSU's big-play threat. Averaging an eye-popping 21.2 yards per catch, Henderson scores almost one touchdown per every two receptions. And of course Henderson was the recipient of last week's last-play, 75-yard miracle reception that defeated Kentucky.

Torbush provided his scouting report. "The guy that has truly impressed me has been Devery Henderson, the running back last year. He's the real deal. He has breakaway speed. You've got to know where he's at. Not only is he a good receiver, but he runs the ball very well after the catch. They use him a great deal on reverses."

Averaging 359.8 yards per game, LSU is actually better running the football (210.8) than passing (149.0). "There's no doubt that offensively they have not had as many yards as they had last year," Torbush said. "But what they have done is make the plays when they've needed to make them. Their running game is far better in my opinion."

When starting tailback LaBrandon Toefield went down with a broken arm, LSU simply called on the versatile Domanick Davis to fill in. "At running back, Davis is a great player as evidenced by his kick return ability as well as his ability to carry the football," Torbush said. "He catches the ball extremely well out of the backfield."

Freshman Joseph Addai actually leads his team in terms of average per carry (5.7). "The freshman Addai, what has impressed me about him is that early in the season he played fullback," Torbush said. "Obviously he's a tough guy. They've got two good ones."

Last year's leading rusher for LSU, Toefield was back at practice this week. Torbush commented, "I don't know if Toefield will be back or not. If he is, then we know how good he is. If he's not, they'll keep moving with the other two guys."

Up front the Bengal Tigers are both big and talented. "Their offensive line will be one of the best we've played all year," Torbush said. "They're a tough, well-coached and physical group. They come off the ball extremely well. They've gotten the reputation as a great throwing team over the years, but they're a physical football team. They run the ball as well as anybody we've played.

"They'll remind you of Georgia the way they run the ball physically. Georgia ran the ball on us as good or better than anybody we've played."

At 6-4, 192 pounds and with excellent speed, receiver Michael Clayton (#14) will be playing on Sundays in a few years. (Associated Press)

As usual, Bama's principal goal on defense remains the same. "We've got to do a good job of stopping the run," Torbush said. "If we don't stop the run, then we've got some problems. LSU ran the ball very well against Kentucky."

If the Bengal Tiger offense has a weakness, it's found at quarterback. Of course Davey has departed for the NFL, and now the September starter is also lost for the year to injury.

In their stead, sophomore Marcus Randall has been inconsistent throwing the football. Completing less than 50 percent of his passes, Randall has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.

But Randall remains a dangerous runner. "Their quarterback is an outstanding athlete," Torbush said. "He has good size and great athleticism. They lost a heady guy in (Matt) Mauck, because of his experience and his maturity. But Randall runs the ball extremely well on the scramble."

Still inexperienced, Randall is no Tyler Watts. But he'll present a unique challenge to the Tide defense. Torbush explained, "They've got some quarterback running plays. Their one-back shotgun running game is very similar to ours. They'll run the quarterback counter and the quarterback power, and they throw the ball off of it. They'll do some things that we probably haven't really seen much since the Oklahoma game."

Last season the Bama D was frankly embarrassed, giving up record numbers of yards to the LSU offense. But Torbush isn't interested in revenge--just in winning the game. "We're dealing with a very good football team," he said. "We have our work cut out for us, but I do believe our players will be excited. We're looking forward to the challenge."


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