Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett Surprised by Nick Saban's Handling of Alabama QBs

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2017

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks during a press conference after the Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 35-31 in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Former University of Alabama quarterbacks Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman expressed frustration with how Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban handled the QB situation last season.

On Tuesday, Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.com passed along comments from the signal-callers who took a backseat to true freshman Jalen Hurts early in the 2016 campaign. Barnett said he thinks that was Saban's plan "all along." 

"According to him, I was their guy," he 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."

Bateman added: "Long story short, I was just as surprised as everyone else. It wasn't really how it was told to me it was going to be.

"... How things were communicated, there was a lack of communication. 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."

Both quarterbacks have since left the program. Barnett exited for Arizona State, where he's battling incumbent Manny Wilkins for the starting job. Meanwhile, Bateman landed in a competition with Troy Williams and Tyler Huntley after transferring to Utah.

Marq Burnett of SEC Country relayed remarks Saban made last month at the 2017 SEC media days in Hoover, Alabama, about Barnett's departure, which came midway through last season.

"On one side of it, there's a lesson to be learned in terms of commitment," he said. "But on the other side of it, there's an understanding of a player wanting to improve his opportunities."

It may be less of a concern for Saban if Hurts stays healthy.

The dynamic sophomore is coming off a season in which he completed 62.8 percent of his throws for 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also added 954 yards and 13 scores on the ground.