Miami Hurricanes S Bubba Bolden being game planned by Clemson OC

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden will be one of the primary players Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott focuses on for his game plan on Saturday.

Miami Hurricanes redshirt junior safety Bubba Bolden has received a lot of accolades for outstanding performances the last two weeks in wins over Louisville and Florida State. On Monday, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott stated the Tigers are aware of the challenges Bolden presents against his offense.

Bolden was named the ACC Defensive Back of the Week after recording 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble in the 47-34 Miami victory over Louisville two weeks ago. Bolden followed that up with four tackles, two TFLs, one sack an interception, a pass breakup and a forced fumble against Florida State.

The pass breakup by Bolden was on a deflection and resulted in junior cornerback Al Blades Jr. intercepting the Seminoles in the end zone to end a drive. Bolden has excelled at all aspects defensively for Miami in 2020. Pro Football Focus ranks the USC transfer as the 11th best safety nationally.

Elliott is concerned with Bolden’s size at a listed 6’3 200 pounds. The Clemson offensive coordinator questioned if Bolden is bigger than he is listed. Elliott compared Bolden to former USC and NFL safety and linebacker Su’a Cravens. There is some belief that Bolden could be the next hybrid safety/LB in the NFL.

"“Big, man. He reminds me of the big safety that came out of USC a couple years ago that was a freaky talent. Su’a Cravens. His body type, he’s just a big, physically-imposing looking guy,…We had to double check his weight if he’s 200, 220 pounds. We weren’t sure there. He’s a big guy.He plays with a lot of confidence. You can see the way he sits on some coverage things, he’s confident there in his ability to redirect and be physical but also try to run with guys. He’s a great addition for them. The more he plays, the more special he’s going to get.”"

The Miami defense is developing this season with a lot of new starters including Bolden. The Hurricanes are allowing 3.96 yards per carry rushing. Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham threw for 307 yards, three TDs and an interception against Miami. Cardinals running back Javian Hawkins ran for 164 yards and a TD.

Clemson has the best QB/RB tandem nationally with Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. Lawrence is fifth nationally in QB rating. Etienne is averaging 81 yards per game and 6.23 yards per carry. Etienne is tied for second on Clemson with nine receptions and third with 172 yards receiving.

With 138.3 yards from scrimmage per game, Etienne is 10th nationally. Bolden and the Miami Hurricanes secondary is going to have to account for where Etienne is lined up in the formation. Wide receivers Amari Rodgers and South Florida native Frank Ladson will challenge the Hurricanes deep.

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Lawrence is fifth nationally averaging 11.3 yards per pass attempt. Miami is going to have to limit the big plays defensively and have a few on offense for a chance to defeat Clemson. Nine different Louisville players had plays of more than 10 yards against Miami. The Hurricanes cannot allow that to happen against Clemson.