Torbush scouts the upcoming offense

Tide fans probably don't want to hear it, but this year's Tiger attack has gotten progressively better in recent weeks--and may be playing as well as any team in the conference. <br><br>"They're a very good football team," Tide Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush said, "explosive on offense."

Alabama, of course, leads the SEC in offense, averaging 413.82 yards per game. But Auburn is No. 2. "One of the most impressive stats I've seen is the least yards they've gained in a game has been around 330 yards," Torbush related. "They've had a couple of 400- and 500-yard games. The thing they've been able to do is be consistent week in and week out. There's no doubt that they've got an outstanding offensive attack."

Auburn finished last season by losing three games in a row, including their 31-7 demolition at the hands of the Tide. The Tiger powers-that-be responded by firing both coordinators. Out on offense was Noel Mazzone, a friend of Carl Torbush. But under new coordinator Bobby Petrino Auburn is playing well.

"Their schemes have changed some," Torbush said. "I thought they had an excellent offensive scheme last year. There's no doubt Coach Petrino has brought in a pro style attack. He puts them in a position to be successful every week."

Tailback Ronnie Brown is playing extremely well for the Tigers. (Associated Press)

The Tigers rush for an average of 210.8 yards per outing and throw for 194.8. Their 32.5 points per game average is second in the SEC. "They've got a multiple attack," Torbush said. "They give you a lot of formations and looks. It'll be a challenge for our defense. There's no question we're going to have to tackle extremely well."

Despite promises made during last year's recruiting wars, Auburn is emphasizing the run over the pass. Torbush commented, "Their running game is very similar to LSU's, and I thought LSU had outstanding running backs that could control the ball at the line of scrimmage. I think Auburn is a similar team."

When Carnell "Cadillac" Williams went down with a broken leg versus Florida, many pundits assumed the Tigers would go in the tank. But tailback Ronnie Brown came off the bench and has been outstanding. "Their running back is a very fine football player," Torbush said. "Williams is a great player, but I don't think they missed a beat.

"Brown is the real deal. He's explosive, outstanding, strong, fast. He's a great competitor."

Marcel Willis and Devin Aromashodu will start at wideout, but Ben Obomanu, Silas Daniels, Jeris McIntyre and Anthony Mix are talented as well. "Their wide receiving crew, even though they're young, they're very athletic and run well," Torbush said.

Robert Johnson may be the best receiving tight end in the conference, and Lorenzo Diamond is definitely the top non-starter around. "Overall, they've probably got as good a group of tight ends as we've seen," Torbush said. "All three of those guys (including Cooper Wallace) are good football players."

Center Ben Nowland and right guard Monreko Crittenden lead an offensive line that is playing much better than predicted. "Their offensive line is very solid," Torbush said. "They've got experience there. They play well; they play hard and they play tough."

The Tigers started the year with sixth-year senior Daniel Cobb at quarterback. But despite claiming at one point that Jason Campbell could not handle a college offense, Head Coach Tommy Tuberville finally turned to the sophomore QB. "A big key in their improvement has been Jason Campbell," Torbush stated. "In my opinion he's played extremely well."

Quarterback Jason Campbell's recent play has more than one fan wondering why Tuberville waited so long to give him the job. (Associated Press)

Campbell is completing 65 percent of his passes and is his team's fourth leading rusher. Torbush commented, "Athletically he's everything you're looking for. He's got tremendous arm strength and throws the ball very well.

"Similar to LSU's quarterback, if you give him a lane to run in he will turn that three-yard loss into a 20-yard run. We've got to be aware of him."

Injuries have been a hot topic this week around the Auburn camp. Supposedly fullback, tailback and quarterback have all been hit hard. But Torbush has been down this road before. "We've got to be prepared for all of them anyway," he explained. "Last week we didn't know until game time that (LSU tailback LaBrandon) Toefield was going to play, but he did. And we anticipated that."

Listening to the Auburn coaches and fans complain about their injuries, an outsider might wonder how the Tigers will manage to dress out a full squad.

But Torbush isn't buying it.

"I don't listen to any injury reports from anybody," he said. "In this game, if anybody can play then they will play. We anticipate that they'll have everybody available. This is the time of year where most teams have got some aches and pains and injuries. But I feel sure that any injured kid they that can play will play."


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