Happy Friday, everyone. It has been an interesting week to say the least, with the news that Blake Barnett made the decision to pursue his dreams elsewhere followed by the arrest of Tim Williams. No time for the players to be distracted, however, as there is a game to be played tomorrow night:
Redshirt junior Cooper Bateman is the easy choice as Alabama's backup quarterback with Barnett gone. Bateman served as the backup quarterback to Jake Coker last season.
He started one game last season during the competition with Coker. He's thrown for 294 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions throughout his career.
Redshirt sophomore David Cornwell is the No. 3 quarterback at this point. Cornwell was knocked out of the competition because of a foot injury suffered this offseason. He saw his first game action of the season last Saturday against Kent State.
Yeah, I'd say it's time to work Cooper into the rotation. In hindsight, it is truly remarkable that Hurts was able to come in and beat out a prospect like Barnett. That kid could have gone literally anywhere in the country. In the end, Jalen's ability to beat a defense with his legs as well as his arm won the day.
Saban did offer a statement about Williams' arrest that included these strong words: "This kind of behavior is not condoned in our program." There are worse kinds of questionable behavior, and this type of deal isn't unique to Alabama football players, but when it's displayed by veterans on the No. 1 team in the nation, it forces you to wonder whether the team has a larger issue that will come back to bite it on the field at some point.
The gun was unregistered—Williams believed his receipt of purchase from the Louisiana gun store he purchased it at would do the trick—so the linebacker was charged. The officers also asked him if the weed they found was his, to which he smartly responded it was not. Rather, according to Williams, he was simply holding the pot for his buddy, Brandon Chicken.
Everyone is focused on Tim Williams because he plays for Alabama, but what about this notorious Chicken? Something needs to be done about a guy who goes around storing his controlled substances in the vehicles of the innocent. It's fine if Chicken chooses to be baked for most of his life, but he shouldn't aspire to have innocent folks tarred and feathered for no good reason. Individuals like Chicken are at the bottom of society's pecking order.
Responsible citizen Cecil Hurt is doing his part:
Police artist sketch of Brandon Chicken. pic.twitter.com/X90kbYyUAc— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) September 29, 2016
If you see Chicken, please alert the authorities. He needs to be skinned and fried for jeopardizing the career of a man with the pluck and grit of Tim Williams.
Unfortunately, like too many career criminals, Chicken has developed something of a cult following:
Alabama Brandon Chicken jerseys may be the best thing on the internet right now https://t.co/NupN6sN6LQ— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) September 29, 2016
Once all of his atrocities are revealed to the public, anyone wearing one of those Chicken jerseys is going to have egg on his face.
Alabama landed commitments for 21 of those players, more than any other program in the country.
Only two other schools have picked up more than 10 five-star players in that five-class span: Southern Cal (16) and Florida State (14). The other programs with more than five five-star recruits from 2012 to 2016: Florida (9), Georgia (8), Louisiana State (8), Auburn (7), Clemson (7), Notre Dame (7) and Ohio State (7).
Alabama already has four five-star commitments for the class of 2017, including a pledge from California running back Najee Harris, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 1 overall player in the country.
-- Saban says he would have been kicked out of his house as a kid if he quit a team. (Read more on Saban's full comments about the transfer culture soon)
-- "The grass is always greener on top if the septic tank," Saban said his dad once said.
-- Peewee from Grand Bay is live in person this week, not on the phone. Saban joked that he only shows up when the offensive line plays better.
-- Saban said Kentucky played a more physical game last week in a 17-10 win over South Carolina. He said it's harder to run inside against the UK 3-4 defense.
-- "This is a much better team than people think," Saban said of Kentucky.
This is certainly a mismatch on paper, but the players have to show up. Thus far that hasn't been a problem, but there is far more potential for distraction this week. Not hard to read between the lines on his Barnett comments.
Speaking of Blake:
That's why the former five-star recruit is leaving now and transferring to a junior college, according to sources. Barnett will be eligible to play at another FBS school after the fourth game of next season as long as he completes an average of 12 hours of transferrable degree credits per term at the junior college, earns at least a 2.5 GPA in those courses and graduates from the junior college, according to NCAA Bylaw 14.5.6. Helping Barnett, a redshirt freshman, is that he's closer to having the amount of credits needed to graduate from the junior college because of enrolling early at Alabama.
This is very interesting and, if it works, could change the landscape in college football. Blake and his parents may have discovered a loop-hole that will increase transfers exponentially. Here is the language of the bylaw in question:
A student who transfers from a four-year college to a two-year college and then to the certifying institution shall complete one academic year of residence at the certifying institution prior to engaging in intercollegiate competition, unless:
(a) The student has completed an average of at least 12 semester or quarter hours of transferable-degree
credit, with a cumulative minimum grade-point average of 2.500, acceptable toward any baccalaureate
degree program at the certifying institution for each term of full-time attendance at the two-year college
following transfer from the four-year college most recently attended;
(b) One calendar year has elapsed since the student's departure from the previous four-year college (one year since the date that the student-athlete takes formal action with the appropriate institutional authorities required for
all students to indicate that the student-athlete is leaving the previous four-year institution and no longer will
be attending classes); and
(c) The student has graduated from the two-year college
By the third or fourth week of the season, a player can be reasonably sure of his role. If he's not getting on the field as a sophomore (and particularly if he has been passed by a freshman), he simply needs to withdraw, enroll in a juco, and take enough credits to earn an associates' degree. With three full semesters under his belt entering his sophomore year, that shouldn't be too difficult for most. This is particularly true for early enrollees, as Barnett was, who have five semesters of credit earned entering their second fall camp.
Once he has completed those requirements, he can enroll at his new school, go through camp with his new team, and practice until he becomes eligible to play after one calendar year has elapsed from his withdrawal date. In Blake's case, he would have two years eligibility remaining plus the balance of next season since he is only a redshirt freshman.
Last but not least, Coach Saban set straight all of those misinformed on a critical topic:
Nick Saban said the Tennessee game is the biggest game to the players. Said that's no disrespect to the Iron Bowl.— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) September 30, 2016
This is how things are supposed to be.
That's about it for today. Have a great weekend.