The Alabama Quarterbacks
Now we all know Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa; the big powerful, powerlifting champ and the small shifty Samoan from Hawaii. But how many of you remember the names Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman?
Pretty much nobody right?
Well why don’t I jog your memory. Coming out of High School, Blake Barnett was the number 1 Pro style QB, number 2 QB overall behind Baylor then, now Auburn’s, Jarrett Stidham, and the number 6 Overall recruit. He only played 3 games at Alabama, and from a quick look at his total stats you might think he only played 3 quarters. Sheesh, what happened?
Well, he sucked.
Yeah, it's that simple, he just wasn’t good. If you watched his one and only career start against USC you’ll know what I’m talking about. He got beat out by Jalen Hurts, a guy who at the time really looked more like a running back than QB and who was well outside the top-150 recruits. Surely he couldn’t be better than number 6 overall recruit Blake Barnett? Right? Well, he was better, a lot better, at literally everything. Blake Barnett was very quietly one of the biggest recruiting busts in recent memory. And where is he now? He’s at Arizona State…
As a backup.
Yeah, you read that correctly, he transfered, reasonable, to Arizona State, ok I get that should be a guaranteed starting job, and is now the backup to Manny Wilkins, a Junior who will most likely not be drafted or signed to an NFL team.
But wait there’s more!
Cooper Bateman. Oh boy, this one is interesting. While he wasn’t super highly ranked like Blake Barnett coming out of high school, he was still ranked ahead of now NFL starting QB Jared Goff and Middle Tennessee gunslinger Riley Ferguson so you’d expect him to be pretty good, right? In 2014 Bateman lost the job to Blake Sims. A running back. No seriously, Blake Sims was recruited as an athlete, played running back his first 3 years, switched to QB in 2014, and then switched back to being a running back for the draft. This guy just played QB cause he thought he was better than Bateman. And he was right.
Cooper Bateman lost the job the next year to Jake Coker, the transfer student who had lost his job at Florida State to Jameis Winston, and would then file to transfer to Utah… where he too would become a backup.
While everything seems all good now, Alabama burned through quite a few quarterbacks to get to where they are now. And while it always seems like everything falls into place in college football, especially with Alabama, that simply is just not the case. A lot goes wrong in college football that we always find a way to forget about and these two QBs are a very good example of that. And I know this sounded very brief but really that's alk there is to say about them, that's how little they even saw the field.
But look at the bright side, Alabama now has Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa and have to juggle between “do we give Tua a shot?”, a two quarterback system, or can Jalen Hurts play running back? It’s a weird situation, but these guys love it at Alabama, so at least there's no worry of them transferring.
Now it would make logical sense for Tua to get a shot, or to see if Hurts can switch positions. But those would both be very boring to pick apart. The idea of a two quarterback system is very intriguing. It wouldn’t be as simple as copying the Leak/Tebow system that plagued Alabama in Saban’s earlier years here, because unlike Tebow, Hurts can actually throw, and unlike Leak, Tua can run. What would be very interesting would be seeing these two on the field at the same time, with some motion and some fakes it could make for some very creative plays. Or we could see Hurts as a change of pace back alongside Tua. And if there’s ever a fake field goal or fake punt, you’ll see it coming if Hurts is on the field instead of the punter. However, with Saban and Daboll leaving the question open for next season after the championship game we won’t really know until spring practices start up and till the first week of the season when Alabama plays Louisville in Orlando. Alabama’s eighth straight neutral site opener. But until then we’ll still be left wondering.