Ending months of speculation, Jalen Hurts trotted out on the field in his fifth game this season, thereby burning his redshirt. The former two year starter and SEC Offensive Player of the Year has become the back-up; and, rather than using the new redshirt rule to his advantage, Hurts will stay with the team and keep playing.
While he is undoubtedly being a good teammate, it’s also a smart business decision for him. Hurts has clearly grown as a passer with dedicated QB coach Dan Enos, and he’s playing with a star-studded cast.
So consider this a sort of Throwback Thursday, and we’ll have (at least) one more film room featuring Hurts.
1st and 10: Hurts is in the shotgun with Najee Harris (#22) to his right and Josh Jacobs (#8) to his left. Henry Ruggs (#11) is wide left, and Jerry Jeudy (#4) is in the slot. Jacobs motions out to the flat, but nobody really bites. Ruggs runs a little hitch route, and Jeudy runs a post. ULL only rushes three, so Hurts has a clean pocket and plenty of time. He knows he’s going to have Jeudy open, so he patiently waits before uncorking a nice spiral to Jeudy. Unfortunately, Jeudy drops what would’ve been a huge gain.
3rd and 13: Alabama goes four wide here, two receivers on each side. DeVonta Smith (#6) and Jeudy are on the left; Jaylen Waddle (#17), in the slot, and Ruggs are on the right. The Cajuns have two deep safeties, and the corners play man. Waddle runs about 5-6 yards, plants with his outside foot, and blows by the corner on the inside. Hurts fires it downfield and hits Waddle for a 24 yard gain and a first down.
2nd and 6: Hurts is in the gun with Najee Harris on his left hip. Ruggs is to the right; Jeudy and Smith are on the left. Irv Smith is on the right side of the line. Ruggs motions a few steps to his left pre-snap. When he makes his cut on his post route, he winds up wide open in the middle of the field. ULL only brought four rushers; but with back-up offensive lineman Chris Owens (#79) replacing Jonah Williams at left tackle, the Cajuns get pressure. Hurts just gets the pass off as he’s drilled from behind, but it’s right on the money. Ruggs hauls it in and races to the endzone, breaking three tackles along the way.
3rd and 10: Bama has trips right. Smith is the #1 receiver (farthest outside), Waddle the #2, and Ruggs the #3. Jacobs is in the backfield with Hurts. ULL brings only three; and, with Jacobs staying in to block, there’s no pressure on Hurts. With all the time in the world, he drops a pass to Ruggs in between two levels of defenders. It’s not the best placement, which forces Ruggs to jump and take a huge hit; but it’s not a poor throw by any means. Hurts had to fit it in.