UCLA spring camp position reviews: Defensive backs

UCLA Bruins defensive back John Johnson (7) during a NCAA college spring football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, April 24, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

UCLA cornerback Johnny Johnson runs with the ball during the Bruins’ “Spring Showcase” at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015.
(Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Like UCLA’s offensive line, the secondary is a unit that has grown significantly during the Jim Mora era. Back in 2012, the Bruins were maligned for their pass defense, one that ranked eighth in the Pac-12. In the last two years, they haven’t ranked lower than fourth.

With every starter returning, there’s plenty of depth in the defensive backfield, one that has emphasized positional versatility to facilitate the use of shifting schemes and to better secure against injuries. This fall, the X-factor will be whether or not any one player makes the leap into becoming a dominant, shutdown corner.

The best candidate is likely still senior Fabian Moreau, who looked fantastic in spring and fall camp last year before a very uneven 2014 season. The former running back was burned repeatedly through the first half of his junior campaign, but eventually found more a rhythm as the year wound to a close. Position coach Demetrice Martin said in April that Moreau often appeared to be in great position for a play, then explicably stopped running all the way through. The Florida native has since made an effort to work on his ball skills and fix that habit. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA safety Randall Goforth to undergo shoulder surgeries

UCLA safety Randall Goforth will miss the season after separating both shoulders earlier this year. He is pictured practicing in San Bernardino on Aug. 5, 2014. ( John Valenzuela/The Sun)

UCLA safety Randall Goforth will miss the season after separating both shoulders earlier this year. He is pictured practicing in San Bernardino on Aug. 5, 2014. ( John Valenzuela/The Sun)

UCLA will lose safety Randall Goforth for the season to shoulder injuries, leaving the Bruins without one of their four returning starters.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Goforth will have the first of two shoulder surgeries this week. The junior had separated his left shoulder during preseason training camp, then separated his right shoulder in UCLA’s 42-35 win over Memphis on Sept. 6.

Since Goforth played in fewer than three contests, he should be eligible for a medical hardship waiver if he sits out the rest of the season. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA safety Randall Goforth’s shoulder injury could linger

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 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

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Goodman, Wadood probable replacements for Goforth

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.

Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page