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Smith appears to be making it back to secondary following arrest

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama safety Geno Smith appears to be making his way back into the secondary rotation following his arrest for driving under the influence last month.

Smith, who missed a week of practice after the arrest, was spotted working at safety with the first-team defense Saturday during the Tide's second scrimmage of spring practice. Saban said Smith and Eddie Jackson, who has been moved from cornerback to safety as an experiment, helped stabilize the back end of the Tide's defense because of their experience and knowledge of the system.

But Smith isn't completely in the clear.

"Geno has done the things that he's supposed to do to this point," Saban said. "He has more things to do when the semester is over. We test him every day. So if he continues to do the right things, he can continue to perform. Geno has not been a problem on the field in terms of his performance.

"So we're encouraged to have him back and hopefully he'll continue to improve and make good choices and decisions about what he does."

From there, Saban went a little deeper than just Smith's situation.

"These guys, they all think they have this illusion of choice, like I can do whatever I want to do," Saban said. "And you kind of have a younger generation now that doesn't always get told no, they don't always get told this is exactly how you need to do it. So they have this illusion that they have all these choices. But the fact of the matter is, is if you want to be good, you really don't have a lot of choices. Because it takes what it takes."

Smith, who played in all 14 games and made six starts last season, finished fifth on the team with 56 tackles (31 solo stops). He also had 3.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and one forced fumble.

"All these guys that think they have a lot of choices are really sadly mistaken," Saban continued. "And I think, as we all have done with our own children, they learn these lessons of life as they get older, and sometimes the best way to learn is from the mistakes that you make, even though we all hate to see them have to make them. And we don't really condone them when they do.

"Geno has done a good job coming back and doing what he's supposed to do and hopefully he'll finish that up by the end of May and kind of go from there."

Foster making plays

After waiting his turn for the past two seasons, Alabama wide receiver Robert Foster appears to be in a good position to have a breakout campaign for the Tide.

According to statistics provided by Alabama's media relations staff, Foster had six catches for 102 yards on Saturday. Last week, Foster had three catches for 52 yards and a score.

Saban said Foster "has really come on," but a lot of room to grow.

"I think being a young player Robert is uncertain sometimes exactly what he's suppose to do and how he's suppose to do it," Saban said. "When he knows, he plays fast and he has big-play ability."

With Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones all moving on, Alabama needs a No. 1 receiver. Foster has the size (6-foot-2, 194 pounds) and the talent (former 5-star recruit) to be a go-to player for the Tide. But Saban said it takes more than just natural gifts to be a good player.

"We certainly need him to develop the confidence and consistency in performance, mature, so that he understands the importance of doing the little things right, so that he can be on the same page with the quarterback," Saban said. "And that's how he can improve his production and performance, and help our team the most. So I'm not satisfied with where he is, but certainly encouraged by the progress that he's made."

Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at mburnett@annistonstar.com. On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.

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