Could Tide’s Secondary Perform Without Experience of Geno Smith?
This weekend, Tide defensive back Geno Smith was arrested for DUI, and was not present for Alabama's first practice of the week today. Alabama's weakness last season was its secondary, so potentially losing one of its most experienced players is never a good thing.
In the wake of an unfortunate weekend for the Alabama football team, senior Geno Smith and JUCO transfer Jonathan Taylor were both arrested for charges of driving under the influence and domestic violence, respectively. While Taylor's past and the controversial recruitment of him by head coach Nick Saban is now one of the main conversations, this is also Smith's second offense involving a DUI.
Smith will be a true senior next season, one of four senior defensive backs on the roster, but he very well could be the most versatile. He began his career at the cornerback position in 2012, but was shuffled around to safety and star during the 2013 season.
In the 2014 season, Smith was most often used at the star position, but backed up Nick Perry at the free safety position. He didn't produce any impressive statistics, causing only one pass breakup during the entire season, but one has to think that his seniority and experience would have come into play this season, as he was on track to become the starting free safety with Perry graduating this semester.
Should Saban decide to part ways with Smith (who has actually been arrested twice for DUIs while at Alabama), that would leave him with almost no experience at free safety, although senior Jabriel Washington has also played nearly every position in the defensive backfield throughout his career.
Chances are that sophomore Tony Brown or redshirt freshman Marlon Humphrey could fight for playing time at cornerback, with either Cyrus Jones or Eddie Jackson playing on the other side. If the unexpected happens and both Humphrey and Brown exceed expectations, Nick Saban and new secondary coach Mel Tucker will more than likely have to start them both. Inexperienced cornerbacks, while physically gifted, are often times picked on during games, and should they have a mental lapse on the field, a strong, experienced safety is necessary to prevent any disasters.
Preventing disasters was not common last season, as Alabama ranked close to the bottom of college football in defending passes more than 20 yards downfield.
There has been no decision on Geno Smith's future with the Alabama football team as of now, but should the worst case scenario happen, the Crimson Tide will have to find a way to replace experience with talent, and that is tough to accomplish for a Nick Saban defense.