Miami football: Five starters being challenged

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team has several starters who will be challenged following inconsistent play during the first two games of 2021. Miami offensive line coach Garin Justice stated that the entire right side of the OL is open for competition between Navaughn Donaldson, Justice Olusaweun, D.J. Scaife and Jarrid Williams.

Donaldson and Oluwaseun are battling at right guard with Scaife and Williams competing to earn first-team right tackle. Justice told media on Wednesday that Donaldson is the third team center behind starter Corey Gaynor and Jakai Clark. The plan is to redshirt Clark this season unless Gaynor is unable to play.

Miami is making changes on the OL almost daily. Donaldson is the starting right guard and Oluwaseun is the right tackle on the depth chart released on Monday. Several other starters on the Miami football team are likely to be challenged as the season progresses. Underperforming players are on notice.

Starters at the beginning of the season on the OL were determined primarily based on training camp performances. Miami had to move players around with Clark out with a shoulder injury and Nelson sidelined. Williams played left tackle during training camp with Sciafe at right tackle. Miami needs improvement from their OL.

Miami football: Young defensive end emerging

Defensive end Chantz Williams was disruptive against Appalachian State. Williams has four tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and a forced fumble in the Hurricanes first two games. Super senior Zach McCloud who is ahead of Williams on the depth chart has seven tackles and 1.5 TFLs through the first two games.

McCloud has played significantly more snaps than Williams. Against Appalachian State, McCloud 44 snaps and Williams 26. The seven tackles by McCloud leads Miami defensive linemen. Jahfari Harvey and Williams have the only Miami sacks this season. Harvey led the Miami edge rushers with 45 snaps against the Mountaineers.

Productive slot receiver

Slot receiver Xavier Restrepo has the only receiving touchdown for Miami in 2021. Restrepo finished with three receptions for 55 yards against Alabama. After an injury to starting slot receiver Mike Harley, Restepo received increased playing time against the Crimson Tide. Restepo has four receptions for 73 yards in 2021.

Harley has only eight receptions for 50 yards in 2021, that included a drop against Appalachian State. The coaches have routinely stated that Restrepo has the ability to get open and make first downs. The Miami football team needs more production on offense, particulary on third down. Restrepo should continue to push Harley.

Young safety who needs more playing time

After starter Bubba Bolden was ejected for targeting in the first half against Alabama, true freshman Kamren Kinchens was the first player off the bench. Kinchens played 38 snaps against the Crimson Tide and fellow freshman James Williams 24. Kinchens only received two snaps against Appalachian State and Williams one.

Kinchens had seven tackles and a forced fumble against Alabama. With more performances like that Kinchen deserves more playing time. Starter Gurvan Hall played 73 snaps against Appalachian State and Bolden 71. Pro Football Focus graded Bolden as Miami’s second worst defender against Appalchian State.

Next. Miami future OL with Jakai Clark planning to redshirt. dark

Only cornerback Te’Cory Couch scored worse. Hall has had some breakdowns in pass coverage over the first two games. Miami needs more consistency in the secondary. Kinchens produced against Alabama and Williams was a five-star signee in the Class of 2020. Its time to give some young players more playing time.