Andre Smith: Suspended for Sugar Bowl

Alabama will be without Andre Smith, the Tide's Outland Trophy winning All-American right tackle, against Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama suspended Smith Monday for what the University called a violation of team rules and policies. The Tuscaloosa News reported  that Smith 's suspension is the result of improper contact with an agent.

Smith practiced with the Tide in New Orleans until Monday, when he was sent home.

The Tuscaloosa News reports that the University had been looking into phone records involving an agent and a member of Smith's family.

In a statement, Alabama coach Nick Saban said, "The University of Alabama, the team and the football program are more important than any individual player. Everyone on our team depends on each other to be responsible, to make good choices and decisions relative to their actions.

"Andre Smith has done an outstanding job in our program as a person, student and a player and we will do all we can as an institution to support him in all future endeavors."

Saban said his priority is to help his players overcome the adversity created by Smith 's suspension.

Prior to the suspension, Smith was expected to pass up his senior season at Alabama to enter the NFL draft, where he's expected to be one of the top overall selections and stands to make tens of millions.

The only other time Alabama played in a BCS game, the 2000 Orange Bowl, the Tide played without its Outland Trophy winner, Chris Samuels, who was injured. Bama ended up losing to Tom Brady and Michigan.

David Ross took Smith's place in the Tide's starting lineup during Monday's practice.  Ross played right guard, with Mike Johnson sliding over to take Smith's position at right tackle.