Miami football shuffling defense with James Williams out for season

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team lost a safety with a season-ending injury for the second time in 2021. True freshman James Williams will have surgery to repair what head coach Manny Diaz termed as a muscle injury. Williams replaced Bubba Bolden as a starter. Bolden was lost with season-ending shoulder surgery last month.

Fifth-year senior Amari Carter returned to safety to start in place of Williams. With Carter moving back to safety, Gilbert Frierson replaced him at striker. On Monday, the Miami football team released their depth chart for the Duke game on Saturday. Williams is still listed as the starter at safety and Carter at striker.

Kamren Kinchens who was a 2021 signee with Williams is listed as the other starting safety for Miami. Second-year freshman Avantae Williams will mix in the rotation at safety behind Carter and Kinchens against Duke and in the bowl games. Miami has lost four safeties off its depth chart this season.

Second-year freshman Brian Balom was lost for the season less than a week before the Miami season opener against Alabama. Bolden was lost for the year last month and Gurvan Hall who lost his starting job to Kinchens entered the transfer portal earlier this month. Second-year freshman Isaiah Dunson was moved to safety.

Dunson was previously a cornerback and moved to safety provide Miami with more depth. Kinchens leads the Miami safeties with 39 tackles and is fourth on the Hurricanes. James Williams ends his season with 29 tackles, a team-leading two interceptions and two pass breakups. Miami will have a tight safety rotation.

With the Hurricanes a 21.5 point favorite against Duke, Dunson and Avantae Williams should be able to receive more playing time on Saturday against the Blue Devils. Carter, Kinchens and Avantae Williams split the snaps at safety against Virginia Tech. Carter had 46, Kinchens 70 and Avantae Williams 36.

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With Carter moving back to safety for the final two games of his college career, Frierson will likely start at striker and be backed up by true freshman Chase Smith. Manny Diaz and his staff have had to shuffle the depth chart frequently this season with a significant amount of losses this season.