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Ex-Alabama QB says it was ‘kind of offensive’ for Nick Saban to ‘bash a 20-year-old’

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Someone remains unsettled as to how his time in Tuscaloosa came to an end.

Blake Barnett began the 2016 season as Alabama’s starting quarterback before giving way to Jalen Hurts midway through the opener, with the deposed starter ultimately deciding to leave the Crimson Tide less than a month later.  Barnett’s decision to leave didn’t sit well with Nick Saban, who publicly chided his former player for, essentially, quitting.

“It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said during his late September radio show. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay. …

“My dad used to always say ‘The grass is always greener on top of the septic tank.’ So it always looks better someplace else. So you think, instead of facing your fears and really overcoming adversity and making yourself better through the competition, you go someplace else thinking it will be better there. But until you face your fears, you’re always going to have some of those issues or problems.”

Barnett has since transferred to Arizona State, and is fighting the incumbent, Manny Wilkins, for the Sun Devils’ starting job.  Even after nearly a year, though, Saban’s words still sting.

“Obviously, I didn’t expect them to be happy in any way. Them being upset and holding a grudge — that was expected to me,” Barnett told ESPN.com. “The only thing I took offense to is that Saban goes out to media and tried to diminish my reputation for a decision I made that was best for my career individually. It was kind offensive that he would go out and bash a 20-year-old.”

Barnett also took issue with how his demotion played.

According to the player, he was assured by Saban heading into the opener against USC that he “was their guy.” While there were some zone-read packages in place for the true freshman Hurts, Barnett, in his mind, was led to believe that he was the man and would remain the man.

“According to him, I was their guy,” said Barnett. “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.”

In the first two series of the USC game, Barnett completed two-of-three passes for three yards and was sacked once for a loss of 11 yards.  The Tide ran just seven plays and punted twice.  Trailing 3-0, Hurts entered the game on the third offensive series and, when all the dust had cleared and Barnett re-entered the game, the true freshman helped lead the Tide to a 38-3 lead in what would become a 52-6 season-opening win.

Hurts passed for a pair of touchdowns and ran for two more in the blowout win, going on to win SEC Offensive Player of the Year in helping to guide the Tide to a conference championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff.  Barnett threw just 13 more passes for ‘Bama before transferring out after the fourth game of the year.

Big Ten lines up Thursday and Friday night football for 2018

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The Big Ten is planning ahead to buckle down and try to make Thursday night and Friday night football a thing in the conference. After breaking the ice on Thursday and Friday night football in the 2017 season, the conference has officially moved five games on the 2018 conference schedule to Thursday and Friday nights.

Purdue will host Northwestern in the Big Ten season opener on Thursday, August 30, marking the second straight season the Big Ten will kick off the college football season with a Thursday night football game. Indiana hosted Ohio State in a Thursday night season opener this season. The opening week of the season will continue the following night with Michigan State hosting Utah State and Wisconsin hosting Western Kentucky on Friday, August 21, 2018. This will mark the second straight season Wisconsin will open the season at home on a Friday night in Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers hosted Utah State on Friday, September 1 this season.

The three games on Thursday and Friday night in the opening week of the 2018 season keeps the Big Ten on the primetime lineup on various TV partners between ESPN, FOX Sports, and the Big Ten Network, although the programming specifics will come later on. But the idea of adding games to Thursday and Friday nights has been designed to add programming to TV partners and add content across all partner networks as part of the latest contracts with ESPN and FOX, along with the Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten has moved two additional games Friday nights next season as well. Illinois will host Penn State on Friday, September 21, 2018. Minnesota will host Indiana on Friday, October 26, 2018.

In statement, Mark Dantonio says LJ Scott’s ‘status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play’

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At least on the field, LJ Scott‘s latest boneheaded misstep won’t prove too costly.

Thursday, it was reported that Scott was arrested Wednesday for the seventh time in the last year and a half for driving on a suspended license or similar offense.  There was some question as to whether this latest off-field incident will cost the running back playing time for Michigan State’s game this weekend against Indiana.

In a statement, head coach Mark Dantonio said it would. Kinda.  Sorta.

In what has been a lengthy process, LJ Scott now has a valid driver’s license, free of any restrictions. He has resolved the matter completely, and has paid a price, both financially and publicly. His status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play.

Scott currently leads the Spartans with 408 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with three rushing touchdowns.  He’s coming off a career-high 194 yards in last Saturday’s win over Minnesota.

Ragin’ Cajuns LB dismissed after felony identity theft arrest

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After a rather quiet week or so on the arrest front, the last couple of days have made some noise.

The latest racket can be attributed to a Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football player, with multiple media outlets reporting that Ferrod Gardner was arrested last Friday for felony identity theft.  The linebacker was released from jail after posting a $5,000 bond.

No details of what led to the arrest and charge have been released.

As a result of the felony arrest, Gardner has been dismissed from the football program for violating unspecified team rules.  UL confirmed the dismissal nearly a week after the arrest, and not long after the news of the situation became public knowledge.

Gardner was a JUCO transfer who joined the Sun Belt Conference team this past offseason.  The Daily Advertiser writes that “Gardner was slated to start at the Will inside linebacker position, but he never played a game for the Cajuns after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a foot injured early in preseason camp.”

FAU will allow star WR with felony charges pending to return, play

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I’m going to go ahead and guess that some will have some fun with and/or angst over Lane Kiffin for the decision made by his current employer.

In mid-June, Kalib Woods was arrested on two counts of felony battery. The charges stemmed from a January party in which it’s alleged that the Florida Atlantic wide receiver broke the jaw of one man and caused internal bleeding in another.

Because of the charges, Woods was suspended for the Owls’ first six games of the season. Despite the fact that the felony charges are still pending — his next court appearance is Jan. 10 — his lawyer has confirmed to OwlAccess.com that his client will be allowed to play in this Saturday’s Homecoming Game against North Texas.

The decision was made during a university disciplinary hearing Monday.

“I applaud the university or doing the right thing despite the fact that criminal charges are still pending,” Woods’ attorney, Michael Gottlieb, told the website.

Initially barred from campus after the arrest, the school ultimately reversed course, which allowed Woods to attend classes and practice with the team. The website also reports that Woods was removed from scholarship and is now a member of the team as a walk-on.

Last season, Woods was easily the Owls’ top threat in the passing game as he led the team with 68 receptions for 934 yards. For his career, the redshirt senior’s 111 catches have produced 1,487 yards and six touchdowns.