TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama’s backup quarterback is gone.
Redshirt freshman Blake Barnett decided to leave the team four games into the season.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday night he is unsure of Barnett’s status with the team.
Barnett started Alabama’s season opener vs. USC. He was replaced by true freshman Jalen Hurts after the second series. Hurts has started every game since the opener. Barnett played in three of the four games this season. He’s threw for 219 yards and 2 touchdowns. Barnett was a 5-star prospect in Alabama’s 2015 recruiting class.
“He did come to see me today before practice with some concerns about his future,” Saban said. “Blake is a fine young man, he’s done a great job in this program and we’d love to see him be a part of the program in a future, but we also want him to do what’s best for him. I don’t have a final decision on that. Nobody has told me that. You may know more about it than I do so I can’t make any more comments about it other than that.”
Alabama players took to social media Wednesday night to wish Barnett well in his next move. While Saban would love to have Barnett back, it appears Alabama must rework its quarterback depth chart going forward.
Hurts is the clear starter. The true freshman won the job and team. Hurts has thrown for 727 yards and 5 touchdowns while running for 3 scores. He needs a backup.
Redshirt junior Cooper Bateman is the easy choice. Bateman served as the backup quarterback to Jake Coker last season. Bateman started one game last season during the competition with Coker. He’s thrown for 294 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions throughout his career.
From a playbook standpoint, the transition between Hurts and Bateman should be an easy one. Both are athletic and good on play-action passes. This is Bateman’s fourth year in Alabama’s system so there shouldn’t be much about the offense he doesn’t understand.
Beyond that, David Cornwell would be the No. 3 quarterback. Cornwell, a redshirt sophomore, has yet to throw a collegiate pass. Cornwell saw his first game action of the season last Saturday against Kent State.
That’s a positive sign because Cornwell had been dealing with a nagging foot injury.
At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Cornwell has the physical tools to succeed at the position. He’s got a strong arm which would work well in the downfield passing game if he had to play.