Now that they’re away from the program, two ex-Alabama quarterbacks are opening up about their time in Tuscaloosa. According to ESPN reporter Kyle Bonagura, Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman shared an equal level of frustration about Nick Saban’s handling of the quarterback competition that eventually resulted in Jalen Hurts as the starter.
Barnett (Arizona State) and Bateman (Utah) are at new programs with a fresh chance to take the reins as starters. When they reflected on their experience at Alabama, they agreed that Saban wasn’t as up front as he could’ve been.
When Hurts played the majority of snaps in the season opener vs. Southern California in 2016, it shocked Bateman.
“Long story short, I was just as surprised as everyone else,” Bateman said. “It wasn’t really how it was told to me it was going to be.”
Bateman added that Saban didn’t communicate his thoughts, which led to resignation about his role for the remainder of the season.
“How things were communicated, there was a lack of communication,” Bateman said. “I knew I didn’t want to be involved with that anymore, but fortunately that was the first game of the season — 12, 13 more to go. I put my head down and battled through it. I knew after that first game that I didn’t really want to be a part of it anymore.”
Barnett went a step further, claiming that Saban promised the job to him before pivoting to Hurts.
“According to him, I was their guy,” Barnett said. “Once Jalen went in, I was expecting it. But then he went out on the next series, the next series and the next series. I don’t know if everything was communicated correctly.”
Hurts went on to register 2,780 passing yards with 23 passing touchdowns. He guided Alabama to the national title game, in which the Crimson Tide fell to Clemson.
Alabama begins the season on Sept. 2 vs. Florida State from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.