Running Over Opponents

Running Over Opponents

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas defensive tackle Arrion Dixon decided the LSU ground game was "spectacular" after watching film Monday.

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack believes the 14th-ranked Tigers have the most physical run game Arkansas will face this season. Defensive end Jeb Huckeba said LSU has simply "killed people" during its five-game win streak.

The Tigers aren't the high-powered, pass-heavy group that blitzed their way to last season's 55-24 win against Arkansas in Baton Rouge, La. But the Razorbacks know they'll have their hands full with LSU's punishing, run-oriented offense when they meet in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium on Friday (1:30 p.m., CBS).

"We watched their film (Monday) and they did some things that are amazing to me," Dixon said. "We've seen (Florida tailback Ciatrick) Fason, (Auburn's Carnell) Cadillac (Williams) and Ronnie (Brown), Alabama. We've seen some good backs. It's no different. But all-around talent, they've (LSU) got a good team."

Tailbacks Alley Broussard, Joseph Addai and Justin Vincent will have opportunities to bull their way for yards behind an offensive line that has been hit with injuries, but continues to open gaping holes. The Tigers punched out an eye-opening 360 rushing yards during last week's 27-24 win against Ole Miss and have battered their way to an average of 275 yards on the ground each of the past three weeks.

The 6-foot, 233-pound Broussard did most of the damage, rushing for a school-record 250 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Rebels. But the 6-foot, 210-pound Addai added a career-high 107 and the duo will look for more against the Razorbacks, who are eighth in the SEC in rushing defense (168.8 yards a game).

"Those two guys, they really have been running the ball with authority," Huckeba said. "They're bigger backs. They're physical, and they're running as hard as they can every time. But that's the SEC for you. You're going to face that most every week.

"These backs are bigger than most backs in the SEC. But they still run as hard."

The most telling statement of LSU's depth is that Vincent, who was named most valuable player of the 2003 SEC Championship Game and the Bowl Championship Series national championship game, has been relegated to third string.

Vincent started the first four games and ran for a season-high, 102 yards and 2 touchdowns against Arkansas State. But he was largely ineffective and replaced by Broussard in the starting lineup before LSU's 45-16 loss to Georgia. Broussard has started the past six games and Vincent's carries have slowly tapered.

"It's surprising," Wommack said. "Here's Vincent, he's the MVP of the bowl game last year. And, to be honest with you, he's not getting very many reps.

"It's kind of funny because earlier, it was all Vincent. Middle of the year, really until this last game, it was all Addai. Now you can just see Broussard come on a little bit. They've stayed with those two guys. Vincent, pretty much, seems to be in the cleanup role. We all know what he can do."

Vincent rushed for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Hogs last season.

Broussard leads the Tigers with 677 yards, 9 touchdowns and is averaging six yards a carry. Wommack said the sophomore is listed at 233 pounds, but was willing to bet "he's not an ounce under 250." Wommack said it's even harder to believe Broussard has plenty of breakaway speed.

"Sometimes the film looked like it was sped up," Wommack said. "You wouldn't think that somebody that big would be that fast. We face good backs every week and I sound like a broken record sometimes. But he's a pretty punishing back."

But Broussard hasn't cracked the SEC's top 10 rushing list because he splits time with the equally quick and powerful Addai. The junior, who has 1,600 yards and 9 touchdowns in his career, is averaging 7.3 yards a carry this season.

"I don't see any difference," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "They're great backs. Those two guys, if you watch all year, they've been beating folks.

"We've got to stop the run. It doesn't matter who's back there. They're all good."

Dixon said Ole Miss struggled to slow LSU because they missed assignments and didn't hold gaps on the defensive line. If Arkansas' front seven can't shed blocks, make plays and force the Tigers into third-and-long situations, Dixon believes LSU is talented, physical and deep enough to run over the Hogs.

"They do a lot of things," Dixon said. "They run right up the gut and toss it and sweep. The backs have great speed. It's all going to boil down to us doing our job.

"We've got to try and get a couple three and outs and get off the field, put them in passing situations."

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