Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


Nick Saban was openly critical of one of his quarterbacks transferring this week – to better his own situation.  Well, hey…guess where kids like that get such an idea?

 In retrospect, I wonder if Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn’t wish he’d kept his mouth shut.

What?  You’d criticize the hottest commodity in coaching?  The man who’s leading the Crimson Tide to a national title, on average, about two out of every three years?

Damned straight.  He deserves it, and I’ll tell you why.

He spoke openly, and critically, Thursday, on the decision of sophomore quarterback Blake Barnett’s decision to leave Alabama because, in Barnett’s view, he wasn’t getting opportunity enough to play, or even earn playing time.  In other words (now get how I phrase this)…he was leaving for another, better, job opportunity.

Saban took umbrage with Barnett’s decision to leave the program, saying,  “”It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit.

“There’s certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I’d come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he’d have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have had a place to stay.”

Now, once again get how I phrase this.  Is this not the pot calling the kettle black?

For his part Blake Barnett did earn the starting quarterback job for Alabama’s opening day win over USC three weeks ago – a game in which the former 5-star recruit from California threw a pair of touchdown passes before being removed for the current starter, Jalen Hurts.

More Saban:  “My dad used to say the grass is always greener on the top of the septic tank. It always looks better someplace else.  So you think, instead of facing your fear and overcoming adversity and making yourself better through competition, you go someplace else thinking it’ll be better there. Until you face your fear, you’re always going to have some of those issues and problems.”

Maybe, and maybe not.  Who knows what Saban told Barnett in the recruiting process to get him to make a decision for Alabama in the first place?  College football coaches are notorious liars when it comes to recruiting, often signing someone solely for the purpose of keeping another school from signing that same person.  And guess what other teams were interested in the California quarterback’s talents as a high school senior?  Ole Miss…and Tennessee.  Both SEC rivals for Alabama.

And, is it not talking from both sides of his mouth when Saban accuses Barnett of quitting, of leaving for greener pastures someplace else?  Was it not Saban who bolted from LSU to the Miami Dolphins in 2004?  And then, after failing to face his own fears and failures as a head coach in the NFL (15-17 after two seasons) was it not that same Saban who left the Dolphins high and dry three years short of his contract to take an even better deal from Alabama?

Sonny_inset0210It takes nerve Nick to accuse a 19-year-old of the same sins you help perpetrate by saying you’ll do one thing, giving your word through a contract, and then reneging on that contract.  So much for what you were taught growing up, eh?

So much for having a certain pride in competition, eh?

So much for not quitting, and seeing things through, eh?

So much for the grass growing greener on top of the septic tank, eh?

Well don’t talk about leaving for greener grass until you’re willing to admit – that for the purpose of keeping your word, septic tanks often come disguised as college football coaches.

And kids like Blake Barnett have a keen sense of smell.  Roll Tide, indeed!