Blake Barnett’s transfer from Alabama was not the cleanest divorce, with some veiled critical comments coming from Nick Saban after his announcement.
Barnett had a whirlwind season, starting the season opener against USC before eventually giving way to true freshman Jalen Hurts, and ultimately announcing his transfer from Alabama to Arizona State.
After Hurts locked up the job, Barnett chose to leave Alabama in late September, something that Saban was clearly not happy about. Without directly citing Barnett, Saban railed against the current college football transfer culture on his weekly radio show, a move that some considered hypocritical considering Saban’s departure from the Miami Dolphins years ago. The show was on the same day that he confirmed Barnett’s decision, so it was pretty clear what brought about the topic. From AL.com:
“It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay.”
According to ESPN, the rift between Barnett and Saban began even earlier than that, when the coach told Samantha Ponder that the young quarterback was nervous during the USC game.
“A lot of backlash that I received from [the USC game] was that I came out nervous,” Barnett said. “I think you could ask just about every teammate and they’d agree that I wasn’t. But a certain coach went out to the media and said that I was and so I got that negative reputation from it.”
While it certainly would be understandable if Barnett was nervous at that moment, clearly he didn’t appreciate Saban making the comment before eventually pulling him from the game.
Ultimately, we’re sure both sides are ready to move on. Blake Barnett is in the Pac-12 now, with an ASU program that is striving to get back into the conference title race, while Alabama is coming off a national championship berth, and has its quarterback in Hurts, and a top incoming signal caller in Tua Tagovailoa.