Miami football: Defense gets big boost with Kam Kinchens return Saturday

Sep 9, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team will receive a big boost on defense when All-American safety Kamren Kinchens is slated to return versus Georgia Tech on Saturday. Head coach Mario Cristobal said Kinchens will play on Saturday during his weekly appearance on the Joe Rose Show on WQAM on Monday morning.

Kinchens leads the Miami football team averaging five tackles per game before suffering a neck injury at the end of the Texas A&M game. Redshirt freshman Jaden Harris has started with Kinchens out. Kinchens has 10 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery in two games played this season.

Miami played well defensively in the two games without Kinchens. The Hurricanes allowed 33 rushing yards and 132 passing yards in a 48-7 win over Bethune-Cookman in the first game without Kinchens. Temple had 11 yards rushing and 268 passing in a 41-7 Miami win on September 23 in the second game without Kinchens.

Asked by Rose about the status of Kinchens, Cristobal stated “He is good to go. He is ready to roll.” During his All-American season in 2022, Kinchens led Miami with 59 tackles, was third nationally with three interceptions, finished tied for second on the team with six pass breakups and had one forced fumble and one recovery.

Kinchens is the most experienced player on the Miami defense with 26 career games played and 19 starts. No one on the roster has started more games on the Miami defense than Kinchens. The absence of Kinchens for the last two games gave junior James Williams a chance to grow. Williams called defensive signals with Kinchens out.

Williams is second on Miami this season with 17 tackles, two pass breakups and one forced fumble. Harris has five tackles this season, with a career-high of three in the win over Temple. Kinchens’ injury allowed Harris more playing time and a chance for Miami to develop depth at safety.

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Miami is getting Kinchens back at a critical time. The Hurricanes face several elite offenses over the final eight weeks of the season. Miami plays five of the top eight scoring offenses in the ACC. The Hurricanes lead the ACC averaging 43.8 points per game. Kinchens and Williams were the highest-graded safety duo entering 2023.