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Manny Diaz Impressed With Miami’s Secondary So Far During Fall Camp

Very good sign from coach Diaz regarding the defensive backs

Miami v Pittsburgh Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Throughout this offseason, one of the main concerns that I've heard from Miami fans is that of the secondary, particularly the cornerbacks. Though, head coach Manny Diaz spoke highly of the DB’s earlier in the week.

Diaz told the media that junior cornerbacks DJ Ivey and Al Blades Jr. have been impressive so far in fall camp, and especially during Miami’s first scrimmage. He also acknowledged sophomores Christian Williams and Te’Cory Couch for having solid camps as well.

In 2019, Blades made 36 tackles, had 2 interceptions and 6 pass-breakups. Ivey struggled early on last season, but improved during the second-half of 2019, finishing with 25 tackles and 2 interceptions. Pro Football Focus included Ivey on the list of DB’s in college football who had the most games in 2019 allowing 1 or fewer catches.

While Blades Jr. is expected to have a breakout season in 2020, because of Ivey’s struggles last year, there are many who doubt the cornerback unit for Miami. I was really impressed by what Ivey was able to do at the end of 2019, and with his physical tools, he has the potential to become a household name this season. If he can be consistent, Ivey will put to rest the CB concerns.

Williams and Couch were both part of the 2019 recruiting class. Miami was able to flip Williams from Alabama late in the cycle, and I called him the steal of the class for the Canes. 247 Sports had Williams as a top-20 cornerback in 2019.

With exceptional ball skills to go along with his length, I like Williams to play an important role for the Canes defense this year. Then there’s Couch, who very well could end up being the primary nickel cornerback for Miami, and is arguably the best man-coverage defender on the roster.

Diaz, along with quarterback D’Eriq King, said great things about Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall Jr. at safety.

“Gurvan Hall might have had his best scrimmage as a Miami Hurricane. He was everywhere,” said Diaz. Hall led the team in the first scrimmage with 7 tackles.

King highlighted both Hall and Bolden. “They make things difficult on the back end for me. Practicing against those guys every day is getting me better,” King told the media on Tuesday.

Stepping into a starting role as a sophomore last year, Hall was second on the Canes with 66 tackles, and also finished with 3.5 TFLs, 1 interception and 2 sacks.

Bolden came to Miami last offseason from USC, and only appeared in 5 games, before suffering an injury against FSU that sidelined him for the remainder of 2019. In those 5 games, Bolden made 11 tackles and added an interception.

I believe Bolden is one of the most talented players on Miami, and could turn into one of the best safeties in college football, as well as forming an elite duo with Hall.

Diaz mentioned that senior safety Amari Carter did not participate in the first scrimmage.