Nick Saban opened up on redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Barnett’s decision to transfer from Alabama.
Blake Barnett has decided to transfer from Alabama. But that’s old news now, right?
Barnett, who was a 5-star recruit and the No. 2 quarterback in the 2015 class, lost the starting job to Jalen Hurts, the No. 7 quarterback and a 4-star prospect in the 2016 class. And now the redshirt freshman is looking to move on from Tuscaloosa.
It makes sense. He lost the job to a true freshman, and there’s a stable flush with four other quarterbacks vying for playing time. Barnett can transfer if he wants to.
Yes, and Nick Saban won’t fight him, even if he is disappointed with his soon to be former quarterback.
The Crimson Tide head coach opened up about Barnett’s transfer on his radio show Thursday, and he didn’t hold back his true feelings.
“I think some of these young guys that have these high expectations sometimes given by no fault of their own — whether the media makes them the best quarterback and the expectation is when they come to Alabama that they have immediate success and be a starter,” Saban said. “When that doesn’t happen, you fear the future. ‘Am I going to fail in the future? Am I going to have an opportunity to make it in the future?'”
Saban joked that when he played, players didn’t even know they could transfer.
The Alabama head coach believes the culture in collegiate sports has changed, and if he had tried to transfer when he played college football, his father wouldn’t have stood for it.
“It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit. There’s certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I’d come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he’d have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have had a place to stay. Sometimes you didn’t have the choices.”
Plenty would choose to transfer if they faced the same competition Barnett did in Tuscaloosa. But Saban believes that, regardless of who’s chasing your spot on the depth chart or whose spot you’re chasing, you have to step up and deal with the cards that are in front of you in order to succeed.
“A lot of times, you have to face your fears. Everybody has to face their fears. We all have anxieties about things. We all have little insecurities. But eventually, you have to face your fears if you’re going to be successful. Everybody has some fear of failing.”
Saban spoke about the grass always being greener on the other side, and knows Barnett will compete for a starting job at another institution. Regardless, it’s still a shame for the Crimson Tide coach to watch Barnett leave the party early.