Washington defenders reveal gameplan for defending QB Jalen Hurts and Alabama passing attack
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has had a fantastic true freshman season.
With his ability to be a threat with both his arm and legs, Hurts has added a new dimension to an already deadly Alabama program. If there’s one area in his game to improve in, it’d be his passing accuracy downfield.
Hurts has been a bit inconsistent in this capacity. It’s something Washington’s secondary — and defense — hopes to capitalize on.
Next to LSU, Washington is likely the best defense Alabama will have faced all season long. The Huskies have four players on the Pac-12 First-Team Defense, and and two on the Second-Team unit.
UW’s secondary is particularly impressive. Safety Budda Baker is the tone-setter on the back end. He was named as an AP Second-Team All-American. Corner Sidney Jones IV is likely a first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft, and the unit as a whole is fast, athletic, and physical.
When asked about how to stop Hurts and the Alabama passing attack, Baker had some interesting comments (per Michael Casagrande of AL.com):
“We know that he’s forced some turnovers throwing the ball. We like that. Being a defensive back, I like that. He can throw. He can run. But at the end of the day, if he doesn’t see anything to throw, he’s going to run the ball.We feel like the D-line is going to have a great opportunity to try and keep him in the pocket.
And when he does cross the line of scrimmage, we have to hit him. He’s been hit before but he’s never backed down. You see him running over guys, stiff-arming guys. So for that, we just have to keep hitting, hitting and hitting him all game. Hopefully, he’ll crack but he hasn’t cracked yet.”
Linebacker Psalm Wooching also offered his thoughts on the talented Alabama signal-caller:
“I feel like anyone can look at the film and digest [Hurts is] a great runner. The good chances are to try to get him with the pass. You have to let out defensive backs, our outside and inside linebackers work the interior and get to him. His passing, it’s good, but he’s a freshman and it’s always going to get better. I think if we can contain his running and get him to pass more, our defensive backs on the back can take care of it.”
Look for Washington to be a bit conservative initially in this contest. Head coach Chris Petersen is exceptional when it comes to in-game adjustments. The Huskies will likely try and feel out how Alabama will approach the game.
Hurts has the ability to be lethal when his own number is called in the running game. As such, it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see Washington spy him with a linebacker. Speedy ‘backer Keishawn Bierra could get the call in this capacity.