Alabama coach Nick Saban has suspended defensive back Geno Smith for the Crimson Tide's season opener against Virginia Tech after the sophomore was arrested on a DUI charge over the weekend.
At the same time, the coach supported Smith's character, noting that Smith has not had discipline problems before.
"We've never had an issue with Geno. He's an excellent person," Saban said, according to al.com. "He's never been in trouble here before, never been in my office for anything, but I think this is something that everybody should learn from that when you make a bad choice, sometimes the consequences of that choice can really have a negative effect."
Smith's absence is no small issue for the Alabama defense. Although he made only nine tackles last season, he established himself as a regular in the UA secondary toward the end of his freshman season, and is capable of playing both cornerback and nickel back, which is valuable flexibility in Saban's oft-used nickel defense.
Veterans Jarrick Williams and John Fulton, as well as inexperienced sophomore Cyrus Jones, are among the options Alabama has to fill in for Smith in various roles. Williams worked at nickel back at practice Tuesday.