Think you have Alabama’s offense figured out? Think again.
Yesterday Alabama received a commitment from one of the top three dual threat quarterbacks in the country, Blake Barnett of Corona Santiago, California. Barnett, like the incoming transfer Jacob Coker, presents a different skill-set from other quarterbacks in Nick Saban’s arsenal while at Alabama.
“He brings another dimension with his feet,” Santiago high school’s head coach Jeff Steinberg said in a recent interview with TiderInsider.com. “I think in Alabama’s offense what he’ll be able to do is extend plays with his feet. Let’s be honest, it’s the SEC. It’s the best of the best. So when the pocket breaks down, he’s going to be able to extend plays and buy time to make throws.”
Barnett had originally committed to Notre Dame, then backed off in wanting to re-evaluate where he might be the best fit. With his abilities and Oregon’s proximity and heavy interest, he was thought to be a Duck lock. But that all changed with a visit to Tuscaloosa.“His parents were sold,” Steinberg says. “They planned to visit Alabama for a day or so and then go visit LSU and Georgia. Then they were coming back home and taking a visit to Oregon this week and then making a decision next week. But they canceled the visits to LSU and Georgia while they were at Alabama. Then they decided not to visit Oregon. They just felt like there was really no need to take the visits. It was nothing against those schools. It was more about Alabama and what they showed them. Alabama offered everything that Blake was looking for.”
Jacob Coker has already received gleaming reviews from former coaches and analysts praising his abilities both through the air and his feet. If he secures the starting job this fall, which most believe he will…or already has…his presence will present an immediate departure from the traditional pro-style quarterback Bama’s opponents have had to defend in the Saban era.
Coker will have two years of eligibility when he suits up this season. Barnett will be a 2015 signee, poised to take over if Cooper Bateman can’t wrestle the job away from him. Either option would be a good one.
The addition of Lane Kiffin to the Tide staff last January and the evolution of the type of quarterback Bama is recruiting suggests the Tide’s pro-style offense may be undergoing more than just a facelift. While it’s doubtful Alabama’s new offense will stoop to bush-league tactics like the HUNH, football’s version of the cheap shot punch (then run away as fast as you can), it appears Bama is intent on standing in front of you, punching you in the mouth, then kicking you with very, very quick feet.