Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
Late Wednesday afternoon during practice, AL.com’s Matt Zenitz broke the story that redshirt freshman Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett was transferring and already had already left the program. While Nick Saban said he had no final decision from the former five-star recruit, an outpouring of support from his now-former teammates effectively confirmed the decision.
Coming out of high school based of @Blake8Barnett high school film my dude had the juice ❄️ and still do best of luck brother ?..
— Mack Wilson (@iam__mw3o) September 29, 2016
Keep God first and do everything in his glory and you can never go wrong my brother! I wish you nothing but the best @Blake8Barnett ??
— Alphonse Taylor (@SHANKK50) September 29, 2016
Wish Blake nothing but the best?
— Captain Thompson (@playmaker_11) September 29, 2016
From some outside the locker room, the reaction was less friendly to a player some saw as abandoning his teammates despite being one cracked rib away from a starting position.
Anyone who would leave their teammates 4 games into the season bc of playing time isn't someone I want on my team https://t.co/WLyF1jcf8l
— Jordan Patterson (@jpatt2492) September 29, 2016
What a joke. 4 games into the season?? I mean you gotta have ZERO respect and sense of accountability to your TEAMmates. Selfish as it gets. https://t.co/yhyxY4sijA
— Will Lowery (@jwlowery29) September 28, 2016
Knew he would probably leave after the season, to just up and leave in the middle of the season is wrong. He owed his teammates this season. https://t.co/leUvRmMnpU
— Jay Barker (@JayBarker7) September 28, 2016
Even Saban said “my focus has to be on the players who are on our team, who are committed to our team.” While I wouldn’t call that a dig at Barnett, who I’m sure transfers with Saban’s (perhaps reluctant) support, it’s clear that Saban has moved on — presumably to redshirt junior Cooper Bateman, who is 40 for 56 for 294 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his Alabama career.
Outkick the Coverage’s Mattie-Lou Chandler reports Barnett will attempt to join a junior college this season, to maximize his eligibility. Take that for what it’s worth. Barnett leaves the Capstone with 11 completions on 19 attempts, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 189.5 passer rating.
SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner notes how important it is for Alabama to retain its QB recruits. AL.com takeslinger Kevin Scarbinsky says Barnett’s transfer was only a matter of time, but was now the time? Below, Zenitz and AL.com’s Lauren Sisler analyze where Alabama goes from here.
I can’t really begrudge Barnett his desire to transfer, but I found the timing more than a little curious. I understand his desire to salvage his eligibility, but he’s backing up a small, mobile quarterback in the SEC. He’s one rough hit away from being the guy for a national title contender. I’m not going to sit here and preach about how a real competitor would stick it out; you’ve got to know when to fold ’em, so to speak. I’m just not sure how much he stands to gain.
What about you? Do you support Barnett’s decision to transfer?
Watch Saban’s full Wednesday press conference
From AL.com’s Vasha Hunt. Saban touches on Barnett, injuries, Kentucky, etc. But mostly Barnett.
- From Terrin Waack for The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama linebacker and Tuscaloosa native Keith Holcombe is ready for a bigger role.
- AL.com’s Ranier Sabin on a new, sleeker Reuben “Ferrari” Foster.
- Speaking of Foster, he said he got a black eye from that time he decapitated Chad Kelly two weeks ago. Ah, memories.
- Five-star linebacker, former LSU commit and Alabama target Dylan Moses is delaying his commitment.
- Former LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said he wouldn’t hire Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to take the LSU head coaching job, because a head coach has to know how to delegate. I understand Bertman’s position, given the disastrous endings at Kiffin’s previous two coaching stops, but given what I’ve heard from Kiffin in his time as a Saban disciple, I think Bertman’s thoughts might be out of date.
- Zenitz also has a handy fact sheet before Alabama hosts Kentucky for homecoming at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN this Saturday night.
- AL.com’s Joseph Goodman says LSU should skip Saban and Kiffin and go straight for Alabama running backs coach Burton Burns. So if LSU hires Burton Burns, you know who to blame.
- AL.com’s Michael Casagrande just wants to know about the deep ball.
- Zenitz, part the third, on what’s turned freshman offensive lineman Jonah Williams into a standout.
- Damien Harris, Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart will be game-time decisions Saturday.
- Saban also spoke during the weekly SEC teleconference Wednesday. Here are some highlights from SEC Country’s Marq Burnett.
- Jonathan Allen, Eddie Jackson and Calvin Ridley made Alex Scarbrough’s top 5o college football players for ESPN.
- BamaOnline’s Travis Reier has an excellent breakdown of the key matchups for Alabama this weekend.
- Kentucky coach Mark Stoops thinks Alabama’s linebackers are good. He’s right.
- The crew at RollBamaRoll from SBNation has a nice film study on freshman RB Joshua Jacobs and a thorough examination of the Kentucky offense, such as it is.
- And finally, Daniel Tosh is horrible and not funny, and his Lane Kiffin bit is hackneyed. Don’t watch it, but if you have to, here it is. Not safe for work, or young people, or decent people, or people with good taste. Go watch an old Chris Rock special instead, please.
Around the Capstone
- Alabama women’s tennis marquee doubles pair, featuring two-time national champion Erin Routliffe, advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITF 10k Charleston.
- The women’s swimming and diving team will be the first on the Power of Pink breast cancer initiative this year.
- The top-five Alabama cross country teams are headed to Notre Dame this weekend.
Thursday night predictions
Alabama fans have another scouting interest in tonight’s game, with Houston looking the most likely candidate to crash the Power 5 conference New Year’s Playoff Party. The Cougars take on UConn, who they should brush aside easily, especially since every win puts more LSU booster money into Houston coach Tom Herman’s pocket. Houston is favored by 29, which is a little high in my mind. The over/under is set at 50. I’m taking UConn to cover and the over. For recreational purposes, I mean.