UCLA redshirt senior defensive back Randall Goforth has been all over place. And I don’t mean all over the place the way Kenny Young has been all over the place, using his speed to fly to the ball anywhere on the field from his middle linebacker spot. I mean Goforth has been playing just about every position in the secondary, not to mention returning kicks on special teams.
"Wherever I’m needed, you know, coach comes up to me and asks for the task to be done, and I just go out there and try to execute," Goforth told reporters on Tuesday.
When starting cornerback Nate Meadors got hurt during pregame at ASU, the coaching staff turned to Goforth, normally a safety, to play corner. Goforth hadn’t practiced the position since spring, when he took reps in place of the injured Fabian Moreau.
"Two weeks ago when it happened, it was right before the game. So it’s not even as if he gets a chance to practice it or even go over it," defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said.
With Meadors out, Goforth got a week of practice in at cornerback leading up to the Washington State game, during which, because of an injury to Marcus Rios, he had to switch to playing nickel, a position he’d never even practiced before.
"Randall seems to know ‘em all, and we’re able to move him around," Bradley said. "He has a real knack, I think it’s a guy that really understands our scheme and what we’re trying to get done. It’s a real credit to him to be able to do that."
Goforth, a product of Long Beach Poly, had been recruited as a cornerback, before switching to safety at UCLA. The do-it-all defensive back said that secondary coach Demetrice Martin tells his players he doesn’t recruit cornerbacks and safeties, but defensive backs, and trains his guys to know the whole scheme and be able to play different positions.
"He coaches the safeties to know corner spots. He coaches the corners to know safety spots," Goforth said. "I think that’s good for a secondary to be able to mix and match guys in different places."
Goforth has two interceptions on the season, both of which came in the game against UNLV, and returned a kickoff for 50 yards against Arizona. He's been one of the most critical pieces of a UCLA pass defense that's only allowing 5.2 yards per attempt, tied for second nationally.
Apparently, before the game in Pullman on Saturday, the first UCLA players out to the field to warm up pre-game started warming up in the wrong end zone. They were told of the mistake, then moved to the proper one. This all would have been no big deal until Washington State receiver Gabe Marks, channeling Bubbles from The Wire, brought it up during a press conference on Monday:
Gabe Marks' full comments on UCLA warming up on their side of the field (again). My favorite part: "I mean don't cut that, let's be honest." pic.twitter.com/rQJXR3H1Cc— Lindsay Joy (@SWXLindsayJoy) October 18, 2016
Goforth, when asked about the comments, said, "We were just out there warming up getting ready for the game," before going all, I don’t even know him, and then respectfully saying, "He’s really a great receiver."
Mora, during the Pac-12 Conference call (pun intended), said that Marks was just "misinformed." The Bruins had been told to warm up in the wrong place, not their fault, and moved when they were told of the error.
This might all be great bulletin board material, if the teams hadn’t just played each other last weekend.
Polamalu Going for Simplicity
"Simplify" always seems to be the strategy in football when a major phase of the game isn't working. You hear it a lot, don't you? Well, the UCLA offense has a major phase of the game that doesn't happen to be working right now.
Offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu didn't show his hand when asked about the changes to the run game, but it sounds like we're going to see some of the magic "S" word.
"We're simplifying the task. Try to get the ID's right and help these young lineman win at the point of attack," Polamalu said. "And we're doing some things that I believe will help."
You may have noticed more shot gun in the last couple of games, and some nods to the old Mazzone stuff. Hey, it can't get any worse, right? The Bruins were already trying to simplify the run game going into last Saturday, but sounds like they'll be trying to simplify even more.
"We have some things that we're changing to simplify it even more that I believe will help them." Polamalu said.
Simplify. Got it?
See more from Kennedy Polamalu, Tom Bradley, and Randall Goforth below. Videos are courtesy of UCLA Athletics.
OC Kennedy Polamalu:
DC Tom Bradley:
DB Randall Goforth: