Miami football could use eight defensive back formation this year

Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The proliferation of spread offense has forced defensive coordinators to get creative. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported earlier this week that the Miami football team could utilize eight players with roots as defensive backs at the same time. Miami is starting two players in the middle of their defense who began as DBs.

Keontra Smith signed with the Miami football program as a safety, moved to striker last season and is starting at weakside linebacker against Alabama on Saturday. Amari Carter was a starting safety last season and will be the starting striker against the Crimson Tide. Manny Diaz wants to get faster on defense.

Carter starting at striker, Smith at WLB and Corey Flagg as the middle LB for Miami was made with the goal of getting faster in the middle of the Hurricanes defense. Jackson reported Miami could use Carter, Smith and 2020 starting striker Gilbert Frierson with five defensive backs at times this season.

Against Alabama what would essentially be a defense with three defensive linemen, Carter, Frierson and Smith plus the five DBs could help negate the Crimson Tide’s speed. Miami lists Te’Cory Couch, D.J. Ivey and Tyrique Stevenson as the co-starters at cornerback. Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall will be the starting safeties.

The Hurricanes have to improve against the pass in 2021. Miami was 65th in pass defense nationally in 2020 allowing 233.9 yards per game. Opponents’ passer rating of 133.64 placed Miami 59th in FBS in 2020. The key for Miami against Alabama will be limiting long passing plays.

Miami was ninth in the ACC in 2020 allowing 110 pass plays of 10 yards or more. The Hurricanes were better with longer pass plays. Miami finished in the top half of the ACC in plays allowed of 20 or more yards and increasing in 10-yard increments. Stevenson is a big addition to the Miami secondary for more depth.

Next. Miami defensive speed gives Manny Diaz confidence. dark

The eight DB formation will also be worth watching when Miami plays at North Carolina on October 16. In two career games against Miami, UNC quarterback Sam Howell is 30-43 for 497 yards three touchdowns and no interceptions. Multiple wide receiver formations are becoming more the norm than the exception.