After accepting a loan of less than $500, Alabama junior Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was suspended for two games this season. But on Friday, Alabama got the news they were waiting for- the NCAA announced the safety was reinstated and free to return to the team.
According to officials, it was a member of the Alabama strength and conditioning staff who offered Clinton-Dix the money, which he allegedly paid back in full. In Clinton-Dix’s absence, sophomores Geno Smith and Landon Collins have stepped up to fill the void and done a decent job. So even though Clinton-Dix could play Saturday against Arkansas- the official word on whether or not he actually will start has yet to come.
Alabama’s defense in particular has been a focal point to how the team is preparing for Arkansas’ arrival.
“We don’t play in a lot of two back, downhill run, the way these guys play and they’ve been able to run the ball against everybody so…” Nick Saban said in his press conference on Wednesday.
“I think its just a style of play now,” Saban continued.” I think that’s a huge advantage for teams who can run the ball downhill and be physical and play because most teams aren’t used to playing against that.”
Despite the fact that Arkansas is 3-4 on the season and is coming off a game where South Carolina destroyed them on homecoming week (52-7 Ouch!), Nick Saban, as always, is focusing on his team rather than the opponent.
“I don’t think anybody on our team has played their best game,” he said. ”So everybody’s got something they can do everyday in practice to try to get better so they can play their best game.”
Good is the enemy of great according to Nick Saban and he is worried that his player’s success will result in complacency. Saban knows he certainly can’t afford that against a running game that poses an obvious threat to all Alabama football has worked for.
“You do pretty good at something and you get pretty satisfied with it and you don’t continue to pay attention to detail, you don’t do the little things right-” Saban said as he held his index finger and thumb an inch apart at eye level. “And there’s only that much difference between being good and really great.”
As for if Clinton-Dix will contribute this Saturday? Only time will tell… and he may have to compete with the players who have made names for themselves in his old spot.