Entering the mind of Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is apparently easier than one would think. Because once he catches the ball, it reduces itself to one word.
Jeudy did so once in his 2019 debut on 10 catches for 137 yards, a career high in receptions and just 11 yards short of a career high in yards. Standout performances from Jeudy have become the norm — this was his sixth 100-yard game and fifth with six catches or more — but this one stood out in how Jeudy did it.
Jeudy flashed almost all of the tools at his disposal.
“You never know what he’s going to do. He’s got so many tools in his tool box, you never know what he’s going to do,” UA cornerback Trevon Diggs said. “You’re always reacting to him. It’s hard to cover him in the slot because he’s off the ball and you can’t touch him off the ball. He gets up on you, he’s fast and quick.
“He’s got the full package.”
In the first half, Jeudy showed off his route running, a skill he hones by collecting tricks from as many sources as possible.
“I spend a lot of time watching other guys and watching myself so I could run this route better than I did last time,” Jeudy said. “That’s what receivers are supposed to do, just being creative with their routes and try to get open.”
His first two catches were on out routes that he ran in different ways. On the first one, he was on the outside of the formation and ran the route straight-up, getting to the open grass as soon as possible and ultimately earning a first down.
Three plays later, Jeudy was in the middle of a trio of wide receivers and tasked with running an out. He jab-stepped inside near the top of his route, creating the space needed for 11 yards on third-and-5.
Jeudy also flashed a well-executed comeback route later in the game, creating separation for an easy completion. Executing routes from different positions — sometimes on the outside, sometimes as the closest receiver to the formation, sometimes as the middle man in trips — shows both his ability and willingness to move around for the offense.
“Wherever the coaches need me, I feel like,” Jeudy said. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll do what everybody needs to do to make plays.”
The freedom to move Jeudy creates options for offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to create ways to get him the ball, which he did with multiple screens against Duke.
Jeudy’s touchdown came on a bubble screen, one of three times UA threw him a screen. He used agility to get around a Blue Devil in scoring that touchdown, but also used brute force to drive through a couple of defenders on a different screen.
Then there was the spin move.
“They were talking about the B button on Madden, that was pretty funny,” Jeudy said.
In reviewing the play, the spin move might not have been necessary. Jeudy found a gap in a zone defense, sat in it and awaited the ball; evading one defender took him right into another, where he broke out the spin move.
“I probably didn’t need to do that spin move, but it was just reaction and I just had to do it,” Jeudy said. “Something like that is a waste of time on that. But we watch film just to focus on what we could have done better.”
Even as he nitpicks one his more physically impressive plays, he accomplished his ultimate goal.
“Never let the first guy tackle me.”
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