ATHENS, Ga. -- With a power ground game that rotates as many as four tailbacks, LSU has very little need offensively for the element of surprise.
What is surprising is just how infrequently Georgia has to prepare for this kind of attack.
"We really haven't faced this kind of offense," Bulldogs defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. "They're more traditional, whereas everybody else is going to the spread and doing all these different things trying to be fancy and get all the style points. Their philosophy is to keep it simple and wear people down."
The No. 1 Tigers are averaging 215.8 rushing yards a game entering Saturday's Southeastern Conference title game against the No. 12 Bulldogs with a physical tailback quartet consisting of three sophomores and a freshman. Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard each weigh at least 215 pounds, and all four have at least six rushing touchdowns.
In their past three games against Western Kentucky, Ole Miss and Arkansas, the Tigers have rushed for 976 yards.
"Everybody's having trouble with it," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "That's why they're undefeated. When you block as well as they block and you get a back just a little bit of a head of steam -- when he's a big, strong guy like these guys are, you're just going to get yards after contact. That's all there is to it."
Because the Bulldogs haven't played Alabama since the 2008 season or LSU since 2009, Saturday will be the first time in more than two years they have readied for such an old-school philosophy. Garner said LSU is a reflection of its head coach, Les Miles, who was an offensive lineman on two Big Ten championship teams at Michigan and spent 10 seasons as a Wolverines assistant coach under Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller.
LSU's rushing average is slightly higher than the 214.1-yard clip produced by the 2007 Tigers, who won the national title and had Jacob Hester, who amassed 1,103 yards. Ford leads this year's tailbacks with 721 yards, followed by Ware with 687, Blue with 445 and Hilliard with 248.
Hilliard, the freshman fourth-stringer, had 102 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in last Friday's 41-17 shredding of Arkansas.
"We've got fresh legs here at the end of the season," LSU guard Will Blackwell said. "We've got four guys who can all run the ball and run it hard, and the best thing for us is we don't have to put the whole load on one guy. When one of those guys comes in, he can just pound it as much as he can and look forward to getting a little break."
Paving the way for LSU's rushers are an experienced line and 6-foot-1, 280-pound fullback J.C. Copeland, who Richt said this week "has worn out more strongside linebackers in one season than anybody I've ever seen."
The Bulldogs, however, are as equipped as anybody to combat LSU's physical style with a defensive front that could rotate ends Abry Jones, DeAngeo Tyson and Garrison Smith as well as nose tackles John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers. Tyson suffered an ankle injury in the first 30 seconds of last week's win at Georgia Tech and did not practice Monday through Wednesday, but Richt and Garner are hopeful he will play.
Georgia is allowing 94.8 rushing yards a game and held six of eight SEC foes to less than 60. Tennessee and Florida couldn't produce positive yardage against the Bulldogs, combining for minus-40.
"Those guys are going to try and run it down your throat, and from watching film of these guys, they do a good job of doing it," Georgia inside linebacker Michael Gilliard said. "They've got four young running backs who will pound the ball, and with us being one of the top defenses in the country, I'm excited about it."
Said Jones: "It's pretty much their strong point against our strong point."
And it's the matchup that likely will determine who gets crowned 2011 SEC champion.
"It's going to be an old-fashioned bar fight," Garner said. "If you get thrown out, you've got to get your butt back up and go back in and throw some more punches. If you get thrown out again, you've got to get back up and go back in again.
"It's going to be that kind of a game."