Safety Randall Goforth practices during UCLA’s training camp at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 11, 2014. (Micah Escamilla/San Bernardino Sun)
Safety Randall Goforth’s shoulder injury could keep him out for more than just one game.
An All-Pac-12 honorable mention, Goforth separated his right shoulder during UCLA’s win against Memphis more than a week ago, and missed the Bruins’ 20-17 victory over Texas on Saturday. Head coach Jim Mora said the team will decide how to handle the junior’s injury within the next few days — whether that means having him wear a brace, rehab, rest, or undergo surgery.
Goforth, who had started 20 games before his injury, also hurt his left shoulder during UCLA’s training camp.
“We want to make the right decision for his long-term health and the good of the team,” Mora said. Continue reading →
About five minutes before UCLA’s 20-17 win over Texas on Saturday, true freshman Jaleel Wadood found out he was getting his first start.
The Bruins were already missing safety Randall Goforth, who injured his shoulder a week ago, forcing sophomore Tahaan Goodman into the first-string lineup. Then, senior safety Anthony Jefferson tweaked his ankle during pregame warmups.
Asked about the UCLA defense’s surprising allowances to Memphis, head coach Jim Mora mentioned only one player by name during his halftime interview, lamenting the loss of safety Randall Goforth to a separated shoulder in the first half. The Bruins are preparing to play Texas on Saturday without the junior, whose injured right shoulder is such that Mora has all but declared him out.
“We’re leaning towards doubtful and teetering on out,” Mora said after Thursday’s practice. “We’re still waiting on a little information, but I think he’s very doubtful.”
Sophomore Tahaan Goodman is expected to start in place of Goforth, whose 78 tackles ranked fourth on the team last season. Goodman, a four-star recruit who saw some time in the secondary as a freshman last season, replaced Goforth in the second half against Memphis. Also expected to see action is Jaleel Wadood, a true freshman out of St. John Bosco High School ranked the No. 7 cornerback in the country by rivals.com.
» In what was a relatively quiet Saturday morning practice for UCLA, the team’s most notable development was a position change: cornerback Adarius Pickett switched to running back.
The true freshman enrolled early at UCLA as one of the country’s top defensive back prospects, rated eighth at his position nationally by Rivals.com and No. 126 overall. But given how deep the Bruin secondary has become over the last two years, there may be a better chance for him to make an impact on special teams and in the offensive backfield.
“I don’t know that he’d get in the rotation at defensive back,” head coach Jim Mora said. “Running back is still a spot where we’re looking for some depth. He seemed like the perfect guy. …
“We’re looking for reasons not to redshirt guys, rather than redshirt them.”
The move isn’t set in stone, but Mora said Pickett took the news well: “He certainly was open to it. His quote to Coach Meat last night was “I’ll leave here the starter” — not in an arrogant type of way, but a determined type of way. He’s excited about it.”
Of course, UCLA’s coaching staff has a good track record with moving players across the line of scrimmage. Anthony Barr turned into a top-ten NFL draft pick after moving from F-back to outside linebacker, and former running back Fabian Moreau looks like a potential pro at cornerback.
» Former starting tackle Simon Goines had surgery on Friday to remove bone spurs from his ankle, the latest in a series of leg injuries for the junior offensive lineman.
However, Mora wasn’t high on the idea of potentially redshirting Goines to get him fully healthy. The coach said he wants him to be mentally prepared to play by the the Bruins’ Sept. 13 game against Texas. Continue reading →
In the Daily News this past weekend, I covered a few of the questions that UCLA answered in spring and will look to answer starting today.
With training camp kicking off at Cal State San Bernardino at 3 p.m., here are five players to watch out for through the next couple of weeks.
Linebacker Kenny Orjioke, Jr., 6-4, 235
Head coach Jim Mora said the prime objective for UCLA’s defense will be replacing the pass-rushing void left by Cassius Marsh and Anthony Barr. The latter’s most natural successor is Orjioke.
Still just 19 years old, the junior has off-the-charts athleticism but hasn’t quite turned that into on-the-field stardom. That started to change this past spring, when he started blowing past blockers on a more regular basis. He’ll be fun to watch if he keeps it up this fall.
UCLA’s push up the recruiting rankings is picking up steam. The Bruins landed four-star defensive back Jaleel Wadood Tuesday morning, shoring up a secondary that just a season ago looked to be in dire straits.
Wadood is the seventh defensive back to join the 2014 class, picking the Bruins over USC after originally picking Cal this past summer. UCLA already added four players to its secondary in 2013, so a de-commitment or two wouldn’t be too surprising. Scout.com rates Wadood, Adarius Pickett and John Plattenburg as the four-star additions to the team’s defensive backfield. Continue reading →