TUSCALOOSA — The all-world play continue to motivate HaHa Clinton-Dix in spring practice.
With Alabama up 28-0 in the 2013 BCS Championship game, Clinton-Dix was tracking Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson’s deep ball.
Clinton-Dix adjusted to teammate Dee Milliner tipping it, intercepted the pass and somehow got one foot inbounds while diving out of bounds.
“I made a tremendous play and I’m kind of feeding off that just to get better,” said Clinton-Dix after Wednesday’s practice.
As memorable as that play was, Clinton-Dix says the best is yet to come from him.
“I can be better than that,” Clinton-Dix said. “There’s always room for improvement so I just want to get better each day.”
The 6-foot-1, 209-pound sophomore recorded an interception in each of Alabama’s final three games. Starting 10 games in the 2012 season, Clinton-Dix led the Tide in interceptions with five.
Junior Nick Perry started the other four games at safety.
Coming off that type of finish, Clinton-Dix has been a presence in spring practice.
“It’s been the same HaHa I’ve known since I’ve shown up,” said senior Deion Belue, who came to Alabama as a junior college transfer last season. “Real energetic. He’s everywhere.”
Clinton-Dix, who had 37 total tackles last season with 23 being solo stops, took his knocks early at Alabama.
The Orlando native remembers being a true freshman trying to take down All-American Trent Richardson, who now starts at halfback for the Cleveland Browns.
“It didn’t go too good at all,” said Clinton-Dix with a slight grin. “It didn’t go too good.”
Clinton-Dix has yet to collide with the near clone of Richardson - Tide freshman Derrick Henry - as Alabama practiced for the first time this spring in pads Wednesday.
“I look forward to it, but that’s a big guy,” Clinton-Dix said. “He’s a great kid.”
The secondary is getting familiar with new secondary coach Greg Brown, who was a defensive coordinator at Colorado.
“He blended right in,” Belue said. “You feel him when he says something.”
Brown replaced Jeremy Pruitt, who left to become Florida State’s defensive coordinator.
“Him and Coach Pruitt are the same to me,” Clinton-Dix said. “They both get on you when you do something wrong. You just have to stick to it.”
Alabama also has new faces in the secondary in freshmen Dee Hart, Cyrus Jones and sophomore Christion Jones, whom were all on offense. Hart played tailback while Jones and Jones were receivers.
“Dee is learning it,” Clinton-Dix said. “He’s picking it up very well. He’s likes it a lot.
Hart and Clinton-Dix are roommates.
“We talk a lot about it,” he said. “We watch film a lot. He’s catching on pretty well and enjoying it.”
Those two and Christion Jones were high school teammates at Dr. Phillips. Clinton-Dix said Hart and Jones played some secondary in high school when playing against schools with several good receivers.
“It’s been a smooth transition,” Belue said. “It’s been going pretty good for them.”
The Crimson Tide lost their true star from last season’s secondary in Milliner, who opted to enter the NFL Draft as a junior. They also don’t have safety Robert Lester, who finished his senior season with 48 tackles and four interceptions.
“We’ve just got to come together as a team and communicate more,” Clinton-Dix said.
Those who remain are battling for spots that haven’t been guaranteed.
“It’s hard when you know someone out there trying to outplay you,” Clinton-Dix said. “It amps you to do even better and even harder and even faster when you know you have some just as good as you next to you.”
Clinton-Dix sounds more than willing to work for his.
He has more highlight reel plays to make.
“I go out each day competing,” Clinton-Dix said. “No one has a starting job. I just want to get better each day.”