Barnett, Bateman cite 'communication' as primary reason for leaving Alabama

Photo of Barnett, Bateman cite 'communication' as primary reason for leaving Alabama

Quarterback battles usually result in someone not getting what they want, but two former Alabama pivots say the way their situations were handled left a sour taste in their mouths.

Former Crimson Tide quarterbacks Cooper Bateman and Blake Barnett both found themselves on the outside looking in last year - as true freshman Jalen Hurts was handed the reins - and both players told Kyle Bonagura of ESPN that head coach Nick Saban's handling of the depth chart caught them completely by surprise.

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

Barnett, now at Arizona State, claimed Saban informed him prior to last year's opener against USC that Hurts would see some zone-read packages, but that he shouldn't be concerned. After Hurts took control of the job and Barnett elected to transfer just four weeks into the season, Saban was publicly critical of his former five-star recruit's decision to leave.

Bateman, who's since moved on to Utah, echoed Barnett's sentiment and said he wanted to leave Alabama after the first game of last season.

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

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

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