With Miami’s spring practices right around the corner, this is a good time to look at the safety positions and the things we want to look for during the spring.
Despite all the turnover on defense for the Hurricanes, the safety position is one of the few spots that there is a plethora of talented players to plug in. Miami is returning two starters in Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine. Johnson is arguably the best player on the team while Redwine proved to be a serviceable starter with a knock for forcing turnovers. Amari Carter, Derrick Smith, Romeo Finley and Robert Knowles all saw the field and played their roles on special teams. The safety position is not only very deep, but very talented especially with incoming freshmen Gurvan Hall Jr. and Gilbert Frierson.
Things to watch for:
My biggest thing to watch for is whether Miami will use Gurvan Hall in a similar role as Amari Carter last year and let Carter be a full-time safety, or allow Carter to remain in his Wildcard role which included blitzing as a linebacker and lining up at DT to spy the QB. I personally would like to see Hall take over this role and have Carter push Redwine for playing time. Redwine did a fine job after converting from CB, but the talent is immense with Carter, and he and Jaquan Johnson could become a force in the back end.
The other thing I will want to see is how they perform with so much talent upfront leaving to the NFL/Graduation. There were plenty of people that attributed to the success of the secondary to the dominate DL play that the Hurricanes got. The safety group can make an early statement in the spring by showing that they are for real and that regardless of the DL, they will make an impact and be the leaders of the defense.
Lastly is how Miami will use Gilbert Frierson who can play both safety and corner. With how deep Miami is at safety, it would not be surprising if Frierson started off as a corner. I personally think he will, so I will not go much into it, but expect his role to be defined by the end of Spring Practices.
Spring practices start on March 20, and you can see the full schedule below.