Earlier in the week, two former Alabama quarterbacks, Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett, both criticized the way Nick Saban handled last year’s quarterback competition, which was ultimately won by freshman Jalen Hurts.
Saban, in speaking with ESPN’s Chris Low, defended his decision-making process and did not harbor any ill-will toward Bateman, now at Utah, or Barnett, now at Arizona State.
“We try to give everybody a fair chance, you know, to win the position,” Saban said. “I feel like it’s my job to do a good job of making the best choice and decision for our team. And one of the most difficult things is sometimes that’s not what everybody else would like for it to be. You can’t make everybody happy. Everybody wants to play; I have a tremendous amount of respect for those guys as competitors.”
It’s hard to argue with Saban’s decision last year to go with Hurts. As a freshman, he was named SEC Player of the Year and had Alabama in position to win another national championship before Clemson scored in the dying seconds of the game. Hurts threw for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns and added 954 rushing yards as well.
Bateman and Barnett have yet to be named starters at their new schools. A third Alabama quarterback who transferred, David Cornwell, will be the starter at Nevada this season.
Saban and the Crimson Tide open the 2017 season in Atlanta against the Florida State Seminoles. The game is schedled for an 8 p.m. kickoff.