Alabama suspends its nickelback for the opener

Alabama head coach Nick Saban suspended starting nickelback Geno Smith for the season opener against Virginia Tech following the defender's arrest this past weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence.

"Some of these guys don't have enough foresight to understand cause and effect, but Geno has been a really good person in the program and just made a choice, bad decision," Saban said, per "Made several of them, so now he's got consequences for it."

Saban said Smith will be able to return for the second game of the season against Texas A&M if he handles "in-house" things.

The 6-foot, 186-pound Atlanta native has been expected to be a big part of the Tide's secondary this fall, although 'Bama catches a break in the opener as the Hokies struggled through the air last year. Still, the Tide will need to find a replacement for Smith against a Virginia Tech offense hoping to rebound from a poor 2012.

Deion Belue and John Fulton are the projected starting corners, so sophomores Cyrus Jones and Bradley Sylve will have a chance to step in at nickel. Jones moved over to defense from wide receiver this year. Saban and his defensive staff could also use a safety as the nickel, so Vinnie Sunseri and Landon Collins could be in the mix as well.

Dave Miller, the college football editor and writer for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

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