Scout team scenarios

ATLANTA - To give the best possible emulation of the LSU running game, Brent Venables put a couple of his guys in the scout team's offensive backfield.

Tra Thomas was brought over from defensive tackle to serve as fullback J.C. Copeland, who checks in at 6-1, 280.

A redshirt sophomore from Wadesboro, N.C., Thomas is listed at 6-feet, 275 pounds.

"He's a good athlete, quick, explosive. He weighs 275 pounds. He does a good job of pounding our linebackers, getting them a little sore, giving them some stingers," Venables said.

Linebackers Lateek Townsend [6-2, 215] and T.J. Burrell [5-11, 215] were asked to work in the roles of running backs Jeremy Hill, Spencer Ware, Michael Ford and Kenny Hilliard.

That LSU stable of backs averages just under 6-feet and 226 pounds.

"Having three weeks to get ready for somebody, our responsibility as coaches is to find the best way to get our guys used to the ‘game speed and physicality' and some bigger backs," Venables said.

He added, "Our guys want it. They want that. They want to know what that's going to be like on game day. It's not exactly like game day, but it's the closest thing, based on what we've got."

The Cajun Tigers' four running backs have combined for 1,838 yards and 20 touchdowns on 370 carries. They've also combined for 28 receptions, 335 yards and a touchdown through the air.

"It's crazy, the stable of backs that they have," Venables said. "They do a great job utilizing their different skill sets. Each one, I think, kind of presents a different thing, but they're all physical."

That's the identity that's been created under Les Miles during his tenure at LSU, a physical brand of football on both sides of the ball.

"They're the most physical team that we've seen, up to this point. I think that goes without saying. That's not Earth-shattering news. That's what they're known for," Venables said. "They're a terrific football team…they're not Johnny Come Lately. They're an established football program."

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