Miami football continue changing defensive players positions

Oct 10, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team has continued moving defensive players to different positions according to head coach Manny Diaz as told to reporters on Thursday. Safety Amari Carter has received time at striker and former striker Keontra Smith has received time at weakside linebacker this spring.

Linebacker is a critical position for Miami to work on this spring for the 2021 season after receiving subpar play at the position in 2020. Three-year starter Zach McCloud moved from LB to defensive end prior to the Cheez-it Bowl loss to Oklahoma State last December. Miami returns everyone else at LB.

Bradley Jennings led Miami LBs with 39 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in 2020. Smith was the primary backup to Gilbert Frierson at striker last season. Smith had 22 tackles, two sacks and one pass breakup in 2020. At 5’11, 215 pounds, Smith needs to add weight to be a long-term LB.

Diaz stated that Smith is comfortable after playing weakside LB at Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood. Carter and Smith have appeared more comfortable playing closer to the ball this spring. The targeting problems that Carter has had the last two seasons could be minimized with him playing striker.

"“They’ve both done a great job…Keontra, at Will, he’s looked at home there. He actually played that position at Chaminade quite a lot. He just feels very comfortable, sort of closer to the ball. Amari has a little bit different skill set. We have a lot of versatile guys in our back seven, a lot of experienced guys.When we get all of our guys back in the fall, some of the different looks we can provide on offense, I think we’ll be more diverse because of guys like that that can play different positions, not to mention at our subpackages [at] nickel and dime.”"

Smith had 214 tackles and 19 sacks during his final two seasons of high playing some of the time at Will according to Diaz. Carter was second on Miami with 53 tackles last season to fellow safety Bubba Bolden who finished with 74. Carter had 128 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, three sacks and five pass breakups during his Miami career.

Former safety Jalen Harrell moved from safety to CB during the offseason as another player who switched positions. Miami might not be finished moving players around. Safety is the deepest position on the Miami football roster for 2021. James Williams will arrive later this year as the top-ranked safety in the 2021 Class.

Next. Miami will have unfamiliar look with 16 players out for spring game. dark

At 6’5, 218 pounds, Williams has been compared to Miami football legend Sean Taylor and been mistaken for a defensive lineman or LB. Williams is a type of versatile player who Miami could lineup at nearly every position on defense. The future of the Miami defense could be lining up players at different positions.