TUSCALOOSA – Nick Saban is putting even the most veteran of Alabama’s defensive backs on notice this spring.The Alabama head coach ripped into senior safety Geno Smith after the part-time starter didn’t complete an interception drill, and then walked back to the line rather than jogged as expected, during Friday’s open viewing period of spring practice.“If you want to be a starter, act like it,” Saban scolded Smith, an expected starter at free safety this season.The message was clear, shape up and do it right or Saban will find someone else.“What I want is competition. I want guys to compete to be the best,” Saban said Wednesday. “I don’t want them to feel like ‘Oh it’s my turn to play now because I’ve been sitting behind these guys for a while, and I want to see a lot of energy and enthusiasm and intensity in the way they compete.”Earlier in the week, Saban was critical of another one of his veterans when he challenged junior cornerback and returning starter Eddie Jackson “to improve.”“Eddie’s got to improve, in my opinion, as all players do,” Saban said. “(He) probably gave up too many big plays last year. And that’s something we’ve got to improve on.”For Saban, it’s a matter of the defensive backs buying into what he and new secondary coach Mel Tucker are trying to teach them this spring.“You’ve got to believe, trust in the technique that you’re being taught and go out there and try and execute,” Saban said, “and do it and use all the things that you’re being taught to help you have a chance to be successful, and I don’t think we did that last year enough in the secondary.”Saban, a former defensive backs coach that still likes to work in and instruct during secondary drills at Alabama, is spending this spring trying to create some solid depth in the secondary, where both starting safeties are gone and a starting corner (senior Cyrus Jones) is on the mend this spring and sitting out after a hip surgery in the offseason.The lack of defined starters has created an opportunity for players to actually compete for spots on the depth chart, with several younger or less experienced players like redshirt freshman Marlon Humphrey and true freshman Ronnie Harrison receiving ample opportunities to shine this spring.“We’re really trying to emphasize that (competitiveness) with some of our players that have not played. If you’re going to be a starter, you have to act like a starter and you have to play like one,” Saban said. “You have to elevate your game, your effort, your intensity, your toughness, your discipline to execute. All those things need to be at a higher standard. So we’ll see who gets that done.”Nevertheless, Jackson and sophomore Tony Brown appeared to be the first-team corners, with sophomore Hootie Jones and Smith at strong and free safety, respectively, during positional drills Friday.The defensive backs did have a familiar face back among the group during Friday’s practice after sophomore speedster Anthony Averett was back with the secondary after Saban announced Wednesday the team was experimenting with him at receiver. “He’s a guy that has great speed, and we’d like to find a role for him on the team,” Saban said. “He was doing a really good job at corner and had made a significant amount of improvement. But we want to do experiments with guys in the spring.”It appears, at least for Friday’s practice, that that experiment has been shelved.