Miami Hurricanes safeties shuffle with Bubba Bolden out for season

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The announcement by Manny Diaz that the Miami Hurricanes will be without starting safety Bubba Bolden for the season with a shoulder injury has shuffled the depth at the position. Second-year freshman Isaiah Dunson is moving from cornerback to safety to add depth for Miami.

Bolden was playing with the injury since the home loss to Virginia last month. The shoulder injury made tackling difficult for Bolden according to Diaz during his weekly zoom conference with reporters on Monday. Expect true freshmen Kamren Kinchens and James Williams to start on Saturday against Pittsburgh.

Bolden transferred to Miami in January 2019. In 22 career games with Miami, Bolden has 122 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups and five forced fumbles. Bolden is a fifth-year junior who has the option of returning next season, transferring, or entering the NFL Draft.

Kinchens and Williams have emerged for Miami. Williams has started the last games for Miami. Kinchens is eighth on Miami with 20 tackles and has one pass breakup and one forced fumble. Williams is ninth with 16 tackles, tied for the team lead with one interception and tied for third with two pass breakups.

Former starter

Gurvan Hall

who played solely on special teams on Saturday figures to have a role according to Diaz. Hall is third on Miami this season with 29 tackles this season. Second-year freshman

Avantae Williams

who received his first snaps on Saturday against North Carolina State will also have a role.

Bolden is the fifth Miami Hurricanes starter lost for the season. Miami previously lost starting quarterback D’Eriq King, running back Cam’Ron Harris and offensive linemen Corey Gaynor and Jalen Rivers. Bolden is the first Miami defensive starter out for the season. Young Miami players are getting a chance to play.

Kinchens and Williams have shown the ability and talent to succeed in college just halfway through their first season. Kinchens had the defensive play of the game on Saturday when he stopped North Carolina State wide receiver Thayer Thomas two yards short of the first down on fourth and eight.

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Kinchens, Williams and the Miami Hurricanes defense will have a big test when they play at ACC Coastal Division leader Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Panthers have the seventh-best offense in the country. Diaz compared Kinchens and Williams to when Miami started freshmen linebackers throughout the entire 2017 season.