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April 17, 2014

Geno Smith making progress at safety

The entire secondary remains a work in progress, with Landon Collins the only member of the unit pretty set in stone at his position.

If Geno Smith carries the progress he made in spring through to the summer and into the fall, the junior might be in good position beside Collins.

Smith, a junior from Atlanta, worked mainly at the Star defensive back position during his Alabama career, but moved to safety to provide depth with the departure of free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He's played in 25 games, making two starts, with six career pass break-ups.

"Geno's had a really good spring," UA coach Nick Saban said. "He's really been active and played well at safety. I still think that sometimes he's a little bit uncertain of what to do. Sometimes he's a little bit uncertain of exactly how to do it. But that's why we'll practice, and he can study himself this summer and work on some things this summer, as well as in fall camp and hopefully we'll be able to make the kind of progress with him.

"He's certainly got the ability, and I think he can make a huge impact for us next year if we can get him feeling comfortable and confident in everything that he's expected to do."

Steak or Beans
It's the annual A-Day tradition where winners eats like kings complete with servers and fine table clothes while a few short paces away losers eat beans on paper plates.

The spoils don't stop there, as the winners let the losers know with a barrage of trash talk.

But no matter who wins, Saban, as the "commissioner," eats steak.

"The players were on me the other day saying, 'You have to choose a team,' because they get tired of me over there eating steak and not being on a team," Saban said. "It's not just the steak. It's the tablecloth, the roses on every table. Waitresses waiting on you. And the other side is paper plates, one pot, beans, paper towels for napkins, plastic silverware."

Who's the fastest?
Christion Jones is one of the most electric players on the field with the ball in his hands. But Jones admits he's not even among the fastest two guys on the team.

By no means is Jones slow, it's just that he's not as fast as former track stars.

"It's going to have to be between Bradley Sylve and Amari Cooper," Jones said.

What about true freshman and UA track sensation Tony Brown?

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, but the word on the street is Amari already beat him."

Unlimited snacks
The NCAA's recent ruling that programs will be able to provide meals and snacks was met with approval by Saban, who has always maintained he's always in support of the players.

"As always our commitment to helping the players will be everything that we can do to help them in terms of what we do," Saban said. "(UA Director of Performance Nutrition Amy Bragg) does a great job with the nutrition part of what we do, with training table, with things that she's allowed to do right now to help players from a nutrition standpoint and a conditioning standpoint.

"So we're excited about having the opportunity to make sure that players are getting enough nutrition and I think this is a good thing for the players."

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.

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