Football Josh Jacobs plays multiple roles in win over Mercer


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Josh Jacobs owns an expansive resume. He does his job well as a running back, he’s involved in Alabama’s passing game, and, the most recent addition, he has a spot on special teams.

The only thing missing is defense.

“It’s huge because a lot of people look at what else you can do besides run the ball and protect,” the 5-foot-10, 212-pound sophomore said after Alabama defeated Mercer, 56-0, Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. “That’s just adding on to my resume.”

Jacobs took the field for the first time during the Crimson Tide’s second drive in the first half. He picked up back-to-back first downs on runs of 11 and 13 yards. Fellow running back Najee Harris took the next carry but made no forward progress.

On the next play, Jacobs caught a deep 38-yard pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts. It was effortless. No one was around him.

“I’d actually seen the dude was like in my landmark that I was looking for, so I kind of bent (the route) a little bit,” Jacobs said. “I was just like whoa. I didn’t expect to be that wide open, so it was cool.”

Harris ran the last 3 yards to score, but 62 of Alabama’s 65 yards on that drive were thanks to Jacobs.

Come end game, Jacobs had added 24 more yards offensively. He finished with a total of 41 on the ground and 45 through the air, good for an average of 6.8 yards per carry and 22.5 yards per reception.

“Running backs are great blockers in the passing game for the holes,” offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer said. “When the blitzers are coming, they’ll take care of them, and if no one is rushing, then they’re going to get out there. … It’s great to have that option. They’re obviously great receivers as well as runners.”

The next time Jacobs touched the ball it was his turn in the end zone. Alabama’s second drive in the second quarter was capped off with a shovel pass to Jacobs for a 7-yard score.

Jacobs, who returned early in the season from a fall camp injury, is officially back.

“It’s great,” Jacobs said. “It feels great.”

And his role is expanding.

On the opening kickoff, Jacobs was back to return along with Henry Ruggs III. Alabama coach Nick Saban said he put Jacobs there because Ruggs was injured in the last game and questionable as to how much he’d practice before Mercer. Jacobs worked on it these past two weeks.

“We wanted to see how Josh would do,” Saban said. “He didn’t get an opportunity to return, but we have a lot of confidence in him being able to do that.”

Jacobs returned kicks in high school. He wasn’t upset that he didn’t get the chance against Mercer. He really just wanted to get that first one out of the way and doesn’t know what the future holds in that regard.

There also might be another thing being added to Jacobs’ repertoire.

“I’ve done punts,” Jacobs said. “But I don’t know if I really like it so much. So we’ll just see how it goes.”

Josh Jacobs plays multiple roles in win over Mercer |
Great article, thanks for posting.

Jacobs is a special back... IMO has no weaknesses. He finishes his runs with physicality too for a "smaller" back. I really believe he's the best overall back on the roster.

Loved that route on his deep ball and then he followed it up with a sweet block for the Harris' touchdown.

Losing Harris and Bo next year will be a bummer but I'm suuuuper excited to see him in this role on steroids. Harris looks like a nice option as well and no doubt in my mind Robinson will be a stud. Keep em' coming... RTR
I've been saying since the year started that we need to gett this kid somw touches in spite of a loaded backfield, preferably a slot/RB hybrid similar to Reggie Bush @USC.

Glad to see them finally use him like that today. The kid is just special.