Wednesday afternoon there was breaking news from the Alabama Media Group (Al.com citing unnamed sources) that quarterback Blake Barnett was transferring from Alabama. Later Wednesday afternoon Alabama Coach Nick Saban pumped the breaks -- a little -- on that story.
It’s not to say that Barnett, who started Alabama’s season-opener against Southern Cal and then lost his job to freshman Jalen Hurts, is not going to leave the Crimson Tide, but Saban said in his post-practice press briefing that he hasn’t heard a final decision.
"I know there's a lot swirling around about Blake Barnett,” Saban said. “He did come to see me today before practice with some concerns about his future. Blake is a fine young man, he's done a great job with his 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.”
So is Barnett still with the team?
“I don’t know,” Saban said. “We’ll make a statement when we find out for sure.”
Saban gave a glimpse into meeting with a player perhaps planning to transfer.
He said when a player comes to him with concerns about his standing or status with the program, “I listen. I try to understand. I listen really closely about what the concerns are.
“Look, I understand that everyone wants to play. I understand that only one guy can play quarterback, although we've had a pretty significant competition at that position and both guys have played quite a bit and done good things at times.
“I try to make them aware of the consequences of the decision that they make and offer some experiences that we have in the past to try to get them to make the best value decision for their future.
“Sometimes we agree on that and sometimes we don't, but it's everybody's choice to make in terms of what they do.
“I try to do what's best for our team and our players on it. My focus has to be on the players that are on our team, who are committed to our team, who are going to work to help this team to be good and try to get better. The guys that put the team first are the most important thing for us right now in terms of us being a better team."
Barnett has completed 11 of his 19 pass attempts (83.3 per cent) for 219 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Ironically, though with obviously limited playing time, he leads the Southeastern Conference in passing efficiency. He has been sacked twice and has a long pass of 45 yards. He has played in three games, failing to see action in Bama’s 48-45 win over Ole Miss in Oxford.
Barnett is a redshirt freshman from Corona, Calif.