Kenny Pickett, No. 17 Pitt next up for Miami’s depleted secondary

The Miami Hurricanes are about to face one of the nation’s hottest quarterbacks, and they’re going to have to do it without one of their best players on defense.Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden — a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection last season — recently underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season, the team announced this week.That means the Hurricanes (3-4, 1-2 ACC) will start two true freshmen safeties — James Williams and Kamren Kinchens — when they visit 17th-ranked Pitt (6-1, 3-0) on Saturday afternoon.”It was affecting his tackling and his overall play,” Miami coach Manny Diaz said of the injury Bolden played through the previous three weeks. “But it’s a tough loss for us because of his leadership.”The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Williams was the nation’s top-ranked safety in the Class of 2021 while Kinchens was one of the top 25 safeties in the class. Kinchens, a 5-11, 200-pounder, burst onto the prep scene with nine interceptions as a junior.Both have been impressive in their limited chances with the Hurricanes, but now they face will one of the nation’s top passers, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett.The fifth-year senior has 23 touchdown passes and just one interception this season to garner Heisman Trophy buzz. Pickett also has the Panthers sitting atop the ACC’s Coastal Division.Pickett is averaging 319.4 passing yards per game, and he leads an offense that ranks fourth in the nation with 45.3 points per game.Wide receiver Jordan Addison, who is Pickett’s favorite target, ranks fourth in the ACC in reception yards per game (95.7).However, Addison and Pitt’s No. 1 running back, Izzy Abanikanda, sustained concussions in last week’s win over Clemson. Both are questionable to play against Miami.Abanikanda, who leads Pitt with 403 rushing yards (5.2 average), would be replaced by Vincent Davis and freshman Rodney Hammond Jr. if necessary. Davis has rushed for 263 yards but just a 3.3 average. Hammond, though, has 251 yards and a 5.8 average.Still, those injuries and the presence of the Hurricanes — who have beaten the Panthers in three straight matchups — have Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi worried.