Miami football expectations if Don Chaney Jr and Keontra Smith are out long

The Miami football program could be without a pair of players after running back Don Chaney Jr. and linebacker Keontra Smith suffered injuries that do not have good initial prognoses according to head coach Manny Diaz. Chaney and Smith both excited the game against Appalachian State with what were termed lower-body injuries.

Diaz stated in his postgame press conference that Chaney and Smith would be examined on Sunday before a final determination on their injuries would be made. Both players would be big losses for the Miami football team. With Chaney out, Miami is down to three scholarship RBs for the next two games.

Jaylan Knighton is suspended through the first four games of the season for an unspecified off-the-field incident. Knighton will return for the Virginia game to begin ACC play on September 30. Through two games, Chaney had 11 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown and one reception for four yards.

Smith has nine tackles in the first two games for Miami. After signing with the Miami football program as a safety, Smith was moved to linebacker in the spring and earned a starting spot during training camp. The question on who would replace Chaney and Smith is much clearer at RB. Miami is short depth and LB and RB.

“I don’t have the official word, so I’m not going to say anything for sure, but I know with Don Chaney Jr., and Keontra, neither initial prognosis was good…I guess we’ll find out more when the guys get examined tomorrow, but it is not good for either guy. They are big losses for our team.”

With Knighton out the next two games, Cam’Ron Harris will carry the load as he did on Saturday night for Miami with Chaney out. Harris has 30 for 128 yards and a TD this season. With Chaney limited to four carries for 21 yards and a TD before the injury on Saturday, Harris finished with 18 carries for 91 yards and a TD.

Harris had another TD called back. Miami Quarterback D’Eriq King shared the rushing load on Saturday with 19 carries for 79 yards. Behind Harris for Michigan State on Saturday and Central Connecticut State on September 25 are freshmen RBs Cody Brown and Thad Franklin. Expect Harris to receive the majority of carries.

With Smith out, Waynmon Steed had six tackles against Appalachian State which are all his stops for this season. Bradley Jennings Jr. who was a starter in 2020 is likely to receive significantly more playing time if Smith is out for an extended period of time. Jennings had all six of his tackles this season in the opener against Alabama.

Tirek Austin-Cave, Sam Brooks who has missed the first two games of the season with a toe injury and Avery Huff are the other experienced LBs on the Miami roster. Miami is thin at LB.  Season-ending injuries to Chaney and Smith would seriously test the Hurricanes’ depth.