The Bruins continue to gear up for Saturday night's game against the Texas Longhorns at Jerry World outside of Dallas, Texas. Jack Wang's latest piece for the Daily News discusses the reaction of the Bruin coaches and players to Cowboys Stadium. Wang also has a Q&A with the Austin American-Statesman's Texas beat writer posted on his DN blog.
Per Chris Foster's Wednesday evening report, Randal Goforth will miss Saturday's game due to the shoulder injury that he suffered against Memphis. That means Tahaan Goodman will be making his first collegiate start in place of Randal at safety. Foster has a bit to share from both Tahaan and Coach Martin about the preparation that he has put in anticipating his time to step in.
"He has shown the maturity of wanting to be great," Martin said. "He's learning what it takes to put forth the effort instead having the entitlement of a four- or five-star high school player, thinking it was going to be easy. Now he's a guy who is out here first every day. That has a lot to do with the leadership within the group. He comes out and asks for extra work."
That development has been across the board.
"I feel a little bit smarter reading formations pre-snap, taking the angles and tackling," Goodman said. "My mindset is thinking how NFL players worked to get where they are. That's what I'm practice for, getting to the next level."
While Goodman has been honing his skills in preparation for a shot at the big time, new Bruin punter Matt Mengel has simply been learning how to play the game. For those of you who can remember back a few years when Tyler Gonzalez went from Men's Soccer team manager to the football team's primary placekicker in just a few weeks, the story here will sound a little familiar. As Daily News reporter Tyler Hendrickson wrote earlier today, Mengel had never played organized football until a friend talked him into trying out for the local JC team after graduating from high school.
Mengel started out as a soccer player for 16 years, and football wasn’t really on his radar when he graduated from Pacific Lutheran High School in Gardena. In fact, neither was college.
"I was going to join the military after high school," admits Mengel. "But my friend Joshua (Jordan) told me to try out for football at (LA) Harbor (College), but I was a little skeptical. I doubted that I was going to get anywhere."
... "I’ve only been kicking seriously for about a year and a few months," Mengel admits.
After his freshman year at Harbor, he followed his head coach down the 405 to Long Beach CC and started working with punting expert/Bruin Chris Sailer. He received a preferred walk-on offer from Cal during his sophomore season which was bumped up to a full scholarship offer once Coach Mora began to show interest after Sean Covington's dismissal from the team. Once UCLA matched the scholarship, Matt became all Bruin.
"When Coach Mora called me, I cried. I couldn’t believe it."
Over at Fox Sports Southwest, David Ubben has written a piece praising the potential of Texas' sophomore QB Tyrone Swoopes, who has taken over under center (temporarily at least) while David Ash recovers from a head injury. The article isn't making the claim that Swoopes is going to lead the Longhorns to glory this fall, but that his development if Ash does not return to the starting spot would be a bright spot in the otherwise rough season unfolding in Austin.
In the bigger picture, Ubben isn't that enthusiastic about how the Bruins should end up this season - predicting a close UCLA win on Saturday but tabbing BYU as the Texas non-conference opponent that will end up as the better team at the end of the year. Unless the Bruin coaches get a lot of work done in the short amount of time before conference play hits us with ASU and Oregon at the business end of that schedule, that prediction could end up far too good.